Ayawaso Violence: Armed masked men not members of police SWAT team – Police Dir. of Operations

Director General of Operations at the Ghana Police Service, DCOP George Alex Mensah has denied claims that the masked armed men involved in violent activities during the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency by-election included members of the Police SWAT team. This position is contrary to the submission of the Minister of National Security, Albert Kan Dapaah when he took his turn at Emile Short Commission of Inquiry investigating incidents which led to the violent activities during the by-election. Mr. Dapaah had said on Thursday that 25 armed police officers were part of the 60 uniformed and masked security operatives who went on a ‘special operation’ within the constituency. Appearing before the Commission on Friday, DCOP Mensah said, “I will be surprised that the masked armed men were members of the Police’s SWAT team. “I saw the footage of the armed masked men in brown uniforms and didn’t know who they were, because I am not aware that the election taskforce included operatives of National Security,” DCOP Mensah told the Commission. DCOP George Alex Mensah also said he had no prior knowledge of the intention of National Security to deploy armed personnel to the area. During the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election which took place on January 31, 2019, some masked armed men purported to be officials of the National Security were captured on camera assaulting citizens including the Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, Sam George. According to DCOP Mensah, he was only informed about the presence of these National Security operatives through the media after stories of the violence broke. “I heard on air that they were part of National Security. No other unit took part in the policing of the elections. The police were in charge from morning till evening,” he explained. He emphasised that these operatives did not form part of personnel assigned by his office for policing during the by-election. He said he only sought to find out who they were after the violence. “After the shooting incident, I tried to find out who the armed masked men were. It was then that I was told that they were not part of my team.” DCOP George Alex Mensah also denied that the vehicles used by these armed masked men were owned by the Police, although these cars as captured on videos making rounds on media platforms show the vehicles with Police logo on them. “The vehicle seen in the footage being used by the masked armed men is not under my fleet. Ever since I took over, I have not seen that kind of vehicle.” He however stated that the Inspector General of Police, David Asante-Appeatu has initiated investigations into the incident to bring the perpetrators to book.

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By Irene Amesimeku| 3news.com| Ghana]]>