The Herald’s painstaking investigation, has obtained additional information on the armed masked men who fired gunshots and injured some persons at the Bawaleshie polling center during voting in the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency by-election, last Thursday.
Aside The Herald’s findings that, Colonel Michael Kwadwo Opoku, Director General of Operations at the National Security Secretariat, deployed the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit; made of selected officers of the Ghana Police Service, one Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Samuel Kojo Azugu, has been identified as leading the dastardly act.
These two men, hold the key to unraveling the circumstances surrounding the deployment of the masked men with sophisticated police vehicles and weapons, which the police service, has since disowned with the Inspector General of Police (IGP), David Asante Appeatu, promising an investigation, but without an assurance of the punishment.
Both Colonel Michael Kwadwo Opoku and DSP Samuel Kojo Azugu, are at the Command and Control of the Minister of State in-charge of National Security, Bryan Acheampong, who himself had served in the United States Army during the Iraqi war.
The Herald’s findings are that DSP Azugu, is the Commander of the Police SWAT Unit at the National Security Secretariat, popularly called Castle Annex.
He had once served as one of the bodyguards to ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor, but recalled to the National Security Secretariat upon a change of government in 2009.
It was created by Lt. Col. Larry Gbevlo-Lartey in 2013 and heavily equipped to deal with armed robbery and immediately response to crime and riotous situations. DSP Azugu, acts as the Station Officer in-charge of the SWAT team.
Ironically, DSP Azugu, had spent time as peacekeeping police officer in war-torn Sarajevo Bosnia and Herzegovina in southeastern Europe, where he encountered the famous Ghanaian, Kofi Annan in 1999, when he was Secretary General of the United Nations (UN).
Interestingly, DSP Azugu was at the Bawaleshie polling center during voting in the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency by-elections, Thursday with videos showing him pointing at people his masked men should physically manhandle.
The masked men had arrived at the polling centre in pickups and other vehicles causing total pandemonium with AK-47 and pistols and engaged in sporadic shooting.
They chased away people and severely assaulted those they laid their hands on. They reportedly took away ballot boxes in the ensuing confusion.
Some had also stormed the home of the candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Delali Kwasi Brempong.
Insiders revealed that, SWAT was made up of some policemen and NPP party thugs, including the infamous Invincible Forces. They were deployed with the weapons and ammunition to cause mayhem, as the fear was that their party was going to lose. They wore brown khaki uniform, desert military boots, black sweaters and bulletproof verses.
They had National Security official tags by way of identification, as well as polo shirts with the NSC- National Security boldly embossed on them.
The heavily-armed men, had their faces masked and difficult to recognize. Indeed, a police chief in the Constituency, has been captured in video footage telling pressmen he doesn’t know who deployed them to the various polling stations. He denied they were policemen.
Interestingly, ahead of the deployment, some of them were seen taking pictures with their faces boldly displayed. There are other pictures of the same squad being trained at a Military facility believed to be the Asutsuare Military Camp meant for the 64 Infantry Regiment, in the Eastern Region, on how to handle sophisticated military weapons.
|Meanwhile, the Director General of Police Operations, DCOP George Alex Mensah, has disowned the black mask men in the SWAT vehicles, the Minister of State in-charge of National Security, Bryan Acheampong, has confirmed his outfit deployed the masked security men.
According to him, the men were deployed based on reliable information his outfit had about the Bawalashie polling centre.
“We deployed all kinds of security forces in operation depending on the information we had from the polling grounds, there were some in uniforms and some in plain clothes. This is not a new directive, it happens all the time,” he stated.
The Member of Parliament [MP] for Abetifi Constituency in the Eastern Region, when asked whether his men deployed were as well masked, he admitted and said; “Absolutely, you saw them there, they were not hiding but security men. You see when we get information we need to prepare for the intelligence that we have received to deploy men who are with us, and some of them had mask. Is not like they came from somewhere or some of them were engaged and put at places to cause violence, they were part of the security personnel we deployed yesterday on the grounds”.
In an interview with Citi FM news, Mr Acheampong indicated that investigations would be made into the issue making sure any33 victim is punished according to the laws of the state.
“There was pre-election security noting that was agreed that no motor bike will be allowed in and around the polling stations and all political parties are encouraged not to let their supporters do that.
“We have a situation where 15 motor bikes led by an honoring member of parliament to a particular polling station, so we went to found out how come the information didn’t go down there,” he added.
Interestingly, pictures have since emerged of known NPP sympathizers wearing the same uniforms which the SWAT team members wore on Thursday.
They were holding AK-47 assault rifles and pistols with member of the public who known them, mentioning their names and where they live.
They were said not to be military or police officers, but bodyguards of the NPP National Organiser, Sammie Awuku and Henry Nana Boakye alias “Nana B” who is the National Youth Organiser of the NPP.
One was mentioned as “Double”. He is said to be Smmie Awuku’s bodyguard. Another one by name Osei lives near the
Ogbojo New Market near Madina. While Ernesto is also mentioned as the leader of Gladiators Gym in Little Roses in the Adenta Constituency in Accra. One Azizi of Amaamobi is also mentioned with his pictures in circulations as one of the armed NPP thugs.
A lot others were also seen at the funeral of the Boakye Agyarko at Adumasi Krobo near Somanya dancing to Police Jama songs and displaying sophisticated weapons. Most of them wore beard and earrings; something professional policemen don’t do.
The naked display of assault rifles of mere party sympathizers, have left bitter taste in the mouths of many citizens as to the extent of the weapons in private hands and what might become of the 2020 Presidential Elections, having used them at the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency by-elections leaving eight people with gun wounds hospitalized .