Ayawaso Masked Gunmen Are Nightclub Bouncers

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Credible formation picked up by The Herald indicates that, some of the so-called National Security Council (NSC) operatives who were recruited and deployed to cause havoc during theAyawaso West Wuogon by election, have been traced to a nightclub in Accra. 

The Herald sources have revealed that four of the operatives, operate as bouncers at a nightclub called Twist at Labone in the national capital, as result of their huge physique and intimidating presence.

Multiple sources, also have given their names as Enoch, Ali, Ernest and Osei.

Three of them, were said to be residents of Nima, from where they commute daily to ply their trade as bouncer at the popular Twist Nightclub.

People who frequent the said nightclub, have confirmed that indeed, the four work there as bouncers.

This fresh information comes at a time the Director of Operations at the National Security, Colonel Michael Opoku, could not specifically mention when these operatives are recruited, except to tell the Emile Short Commission few days ago, that some of the gunmen are called from multiple places for operations and later sent away.

Meanwhile, on Monday Col. Opoku, took a hesitant decision to accept responsibility for the actions of the operatives involved in the violence at La-Bawaleshie during the Ayawaso West Wuogon, last month.

He said, as the Operational Commander of the National Security SWAT, he gave the Tactical Commander of the team, DSP Samuel KojoAzugu, the discretion to act.

“We are officers, and as officers, we normally take responsibility for every action that we take. I gave him the discretion, and I am the overall commander of the team, so whatever the decision he took…although I was not there, I was part of it,” he said.

Earlier, he had been hesitant in accepting full responsibility, arguing that DSP Azugu had the discretion to decide what to do, adding: “If he had even informed me about the ongoing situation, it would have been a different thing.”

Col Opoku, also defended the wearing of masks by operatives, saying that the posting of pictures of some of the operatives who were involved in the Ayawaso West Wuogon operations vindicated that position.

“The masks that we normally use are to ensure that our operatives are not identified. When you go to town now, there are a lot of posters in town, indicating that some supposed members of my team are wanted by somebody. I don’t know who wants to arrest them. There are posters in town that even include the policemen…

“This was not done by a poor man but someone who has the resources to do this,” he said.

He said the posters had images of persons he did not know, as well as members of the Counter-terrorism Unit of the Ghana Police Service in Kumasi and some of the operatives of National Security.

Below are excerpts of what transpired between the commissioners and Col Opoku.

Commissioner Mensah-Bonsu (CMB): Who do you report to?

Col Opoku: I report to the National Security Coordinator (Mr. Joshua Kyeremeh).

CMB: As a senior military officer, what do you think about this split line of reporting?

Col Opoku: My Lord, the minister is the political and strategic direction head of the ministry. The coordinator is the operational head of the ministry. In most cases, my report goes to the coordinator on operations. Anytime I’m given an assignment by the minister, I report directly to him.

CMB: Most of the ministries don’t implement anything but set policies. So how come your ministry seems to be implementing, as well as setting policy

Col Opoku: My Lord, the ministry is there and the National Security Council Secretariat is also there. So the National Security Secretariat normally sets the objectives for us to achieve.

Last week, when Col Opoku, first appeared before the Commission, he told the three member Commissioners that the masked men were deployed during the by-election in order to boost voter confidence.

According to him, the hooded men who were seen pacing around the La Bawaleshie polling station were there on a confidence-building operation.

He explained that the masked men were deployed in order to assure voters that no vigilante groups would be allowed to disrupt the voting process.

The purpose was to provide the necessary surveillance for me. Most of those who were doing surveillance were in normal civil attire,” Col. Opoku said.

“The essence of that [confidence] patrol was to let the people within the constituency know that the security forces were ready to ensure that no vigilante group as they are known to be, could disturb the election on that day. So we were rather giving confidence to the populace to ensure that they come out and do what they are supposed to do.”

At least sixteen persons reportedly got injured following a shooting incident that occurred during violence.

This was after some macho men, dressed in NSC-branded t-shirts, allegedly attacked voters and fired gunshots at the La-Bawaleshie Presby JHS polling station.

Although the actions of the security personnel have been widely condemned, Col. Opoku said their presence did not scare voters.

His comments come after the SWAT Commander of National Security, DSP Samuel Azugu, infamously told the Emile Short Commission that the security personnel at the Ayawaso by-election wore masks to protect themselves from mosquito bites.

 

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