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SWAT Commander admits his men overreacted in Ayawaso by-election shooting

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The Commander of the National Swat Unit of the Ghana Police Service at the National Security Secretariat, DSP Samuel Kojo Azugu has admitted that his men overreacted during an operation at La Bawaleshi during the recent Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.

Samuel Kojo Azugu says personnel from the National Security were at the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election only to build confidence and that they had nothing to do with the elections.

Explaining what the “confidence building” meant, DSP Azugu said the confidence building meant that the National Security operatives would drive their vehicles through the streets of where the elections were being held.

Taking his turn at the Justice Emile Short commission probing the violence that characterised the by-election, DSP Azugu said the national security had gone to the area on an intelligence that there was a stockpile of weapons in a particular house.

He further explained that the group that were dispatched for the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election was the civilian component of the National Security for which reason they wore black T-shirts during operations.

According to him, the civilian operatives of the National Security was only used for intelligence gathering purposes and as such were not made to carry weapons.

He noted, however, that he was unsure if the civilian operatives were trained to handle weapons or not neither was he sure if they had been trained in crowd control.

DSP Azugu further noted that the masks were to help protect the identity of operatives due to the nature of their job as informants.

He also noted, however, that prior to moving to the election grounds, the operatives were not in mask and that he was yet to ascertain the purpose for which they wore mask upon arriving at the election grounds.

Several people including Member of Parliament, (MP) for Ningo Prampram Samuel George were physically assaulted by masked men believed to be operatives of national security.

DSP Azugu however, explained that his men had to use force because some of the people were resisting arrest.

This is the second week of hearing which is scheduled to last a month.

Last week, key individuals including the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Jean Mensah, Minister of State in charge of National Security, Byran Acheampong, East Legon District Police Commander, National Security Minister, Kan Dapaah, Minister of Interior, Ambrose Dery among other police officers.

The Vice President, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia with the permission of President Akufo-Addo in February 2019 set up the Commission of Inquiry to look into the election violence that saw uniformed masked men supposedly national security personnel, unleash violence on some citizens.

The commission, chaired by Justice Emile Short, has former Dean of the Faculty of Law of GIMPA and private legal practitioner, Mr. Ernest Kofi Abotsi as its Secretary.

Henrietta Mensah Bonsu and Patrick K. Acheampong are also members of the Commission.

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