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Minister orders Police Commanders: Arrest vigilante groups or face sanctions

Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery

Police commanders who fail to arrest and bring to justice any vigilante group in their jurisdiction, would be sanctioned, the Interior Minister Ambrose Dery, announced Tuesday in an audacious move aimed at clamping down on vigilantism that is threatening Ghana’s security.

“Let me make it clear that now, if there is vigilantism in any part of the country, the Police in that area must either arrest the perpetrators, investigate and bring them to justice or the commander must be sanctioned,” he told a group of Police officers in Cape Coast Tuesday.

Vigilante groups operating under the umbrella of political parties have gained roots in the country, and have embarked on criminal activities including assault of public officials and destruction of state properties.

The situation is gradually spiraling out of control, as the Police appear helpless in clamping down on these political vigilante groups some of which have in the aftermath of the December 7 elections, caused mayhem across the country.

READ: IGP storms Kumasi with anti-terrorism squad; declares war on vigilante groups

Addressing police officers in the Central Region Tuesday, the Interior Minister Mr. Dery said the government could no longer tolerate acts of lawlessness being carried out by vigilante groups across the country.He thus ordered the various Police commanders in the country to with immediate effect, arrest all members of any vigilante group operating in their areas and investigate them for possible prosecution without fail.

“Listen to me well, if there is any vigilantism, in your area, you must investigate and bring to book the perpetrators otherwise the commander of that area; district commander, regional commander must be sanctioned. We must stop it! [Vigilantism]” he stated.

He said it has always been President Nana Akufo-Addo’s priority to ensure that the people of Ghana are safe, for which reason the President has on several times, asked the Police to arrest all those who breach the laws of Ghana “without any exception; regardless of party colours, regardless of [one’s] position”.

The Interior Minister said it behooves on the Police commanders to let Ghanaians know whenever members of vigilante groups are arrested, saying, “When it happens, you either tell us you have arrested them and you’re investigating them or you are sanctioned…We do not want any stories again”.

Responding to claims that political actors have been interfering in the work of the Police in stopping vigilantism, Mr. Dery assured that such interference would not occure, stating, “We will not interfere in the operational decisions but we will stop vigilantism”

He observed vigilantism could compromise the President’s numerous policies as well as scare away investors if the Police do not take the necessary actions to stop the widespread phenomenon.

READ: Police has been too relaxed on vigilante groups – security analyst

“I am giving you the order today, that if there is vigilantism in your area, if you do not produce the perpetrators, you must be sanctioned and we must get evidence of that. We are not go to go back,” he warned.

He has meanwhile, commended the Karaga Police Command for being bold to arrest some NPP youth, including the party chairman in Karaga for some criminal acts they were said have engaged in.

The Police, he said is duty bound by law to ensure that they enforce the laws of the land.

By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana

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