To Cover Up Party Military Training
Contrary to government denial of training New Patriotic Party (NPP) thugs at some security installations, especially at Achiase Jungle Warfare School and Asutuare Military Training base in the Eastern Region, it is emerging that the reverse is the case.
It also emerged that, the official tasked to execute this secretly, is the Director of Operations at the National Security, Colonel Michael Opoku.
It further emerged that yesterday, a drafted letter in the possession of the Managing Editor of the New Crusading Guide, Kwaku Baako Jnr, while on Metro Television’s Good Morning Ghana show, was cooked and leaked to him by the National Security Minister, Albert Kan Dappah, to cover up the deadly trainings ongoing at the military facilities.
Indeed, Col. Poku, a onetime Army Officer in-charge of Physical Training at Burma Camp, according to The Herald’s sources, has details of the party boys who have been trained so far at various military institutions, especially at Achiase Jungle Warfare School and the training camp of Ghana’s Commando Unit; the 64 Infantry Regiment at Asutuare.
According to impeccable information, the army officer is under strict instruction from the Minister of National Security, Albert Kan Dapaah, who is working behind the scenes.
The same Col. Opoku, who was implicated in the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, where civilians were shot and injured by operatives of National Security, which led to the setting up of the Justice Emile Short Commission.
Yet to be punished per the Short Commission’s recommendations, Col Opoku, is said to be responsible for the recruitment of these thugs and so knows their whereabouts, the time they started and the total number trained so far, for the task ahead.
On Wednesday, the two according to our sources, hurriedly organized two officials in-charge of Public Information Department, to draft a statement to rebut accusation by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that government was training thugs.
At about 2:30 to 3:00PM, Mr Dapaah and Col. Opoku, pressurized one Maj. Awuni and another a female, Jackie Ankrah, to draft the said statement.
The draft statement, had Maj. Awuni’s name, but was not signed because it was not finalized and the assurance by the Minister was that, he was going to confer with other security Ministers, before bringing it back for signing and issuing.
The draft statement had stated among others that, over 190 thugs had been trained. They were recruited by Col. Opoku and handed over to the Military to train them for distribution into state security.
Shockingly yesterday, the drafted letter was in the possession of the Managing Editor of the New Crusading Guide and read by him, while on Metro Television’s Good Morning Ghana show, obviously leaked to him by the Minister.
The letter had Major Awuni’s name, but was prepared on the instruction of Kan Dapaah and Col. Opoku. It was not signedby the Major. The explanation was that it was a draft to be discussed with other officials of the National Security Secretariat before a signature is put on it.
“It is unknown; why Mr Dapaah did not want to have his name on the draft statement, but it is guessed that Col. Opoku did not want to have his name on it because of his involvement in the Short Commission”, the sources said, and insisted Major Awuni “Didn’t issue any statement”.
Sources within the National Security say, the training has been in batches and has been on-going for a long time but this paper’s sources, revealed that the official information by government is that, these civilians are being trained for the various security institutions like the Customs department of the Ghana Revenue Service (GRA) and National Security. The decision, which flouts rules governing recruitments in the security agencies.
Though the total number of thugs trained is not readily available, but The Herald is aware that some Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assembly (MMDAs) and District Chief Executives (DCEs), their drivers and other officials with links to the NPP have been trained at Military facilities in addition to party thugs.
They are being trained in hardcore military grueling including weapon handling.
On the same training issue, the Forestry Commission (FC) has also claimed the institution is training itsguards at the said military location throwing the issue into a different arena.
Speaking on the issue on Thursday morning on Okay FM, the Commission Director in-charge of Special Duties, Charles Owusu, said the training was nothing new and that his outfit decided to train officials in the Military way, because of the deadly nature of their job.
The ex-Progressive Peoples’ Party (PPP) man, who has become an aide to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afrieyie, debunked the NDC’s claim, saying it is a desperate attempt by the party and it flagbearer to paint the government black.
The military claims it is not training any party, but government through National Security, says it is only training operatives, for other security agencies which does not include the FC which is now claiming it men are the ones being trained.
During a visit by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), flagbearer of the main opposition NDC, John Dramani Mahama, said his party has evidence that the governing party is training thugs at Asutuare to cause mayhem during the 2020 election.
Mr Mahama, said he prays the level of violence that marred the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election is not repeated on a nationwide scale.
“We remember what happened in Ayawaso West Wuogon. I pray that, God forbid, nothing like that ever happens again. But you know the issue of vigilantes, especially if one party is training vigilantes.
“I remember at the time of Ayawaso West Wuogon, there was a letter that came out asking party executives to bring able-bodied people to be trained as security.
“Since then, we have evidence that those people have been to Asutuare and trained in batches over and over again in all kinds of combat techniques and other things.
“It’s is a worry that Ayawaso West Wuogon, will be repeated on a larger scale than it did,” MrMahama said.
Major Derick Oduro, the Deputy Defense Minister has called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of former President Mahama and Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin for blowing the cover of government.
“They should get them arrested for creating fear and panic,” the Minister instructed the security agencies in the country when commenting on the development on Kumasi FM.
According to the ex-military officer, it is highly impossible for anyone to have access to any military camp or installation to receive training as being claimed by former President Mahama and other opposition NDC.
“It is a lie that the thugs are being trained and we should get them arrested and prosecution so that they will bring evidence”, Major (retired) Derrick Oduro told host, Nana Yaw Mensah Joel during a telephone interview.
Communications Director of the NPP and Member of Parliament (MP) for Adenta Constituency, Yaw Buaben Asamoa, has described President Mahama’s as “nonsensical”.
“Obviously, candidate Mahama is trying to court leading figures in our society. Religious leaders, business persons, professionals, public and civil servants, academics, traditional authorities, students, trade unionists, journalists, security servants, and many others. He is entitled to do so.
But the least this beloved country deserves is constructive engagement. Quality policy alternatives. The NPP is eagerly waiting for John Mahama’s’ policy on anything.