Police unaware of operation by National Security operatives at Ayawaso West Wuogon – Police Director of Operations

The Accra Regional Police Director of Operations, Chief Superintendent Kwesi Ofori, has confirmed report that one police man had an altercation with national security operatives leading to injury during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.

“We had pieces of information that an officer had suffered in the hands of some of the National Security operatives during the by-election. I met and asked the young officer whether he had been injured and he said it was minor. It seems he was trying to intervene during the scuffle,” he stated.

He said these yesterday when he testified before the Commission of Inquiry on the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence.

On the national security operation in the Constituency on the by-election day, Chief Supt. Ofori, said the Command was not aware that a major security operation would be conducted by the national security at the constituency and suggested a greater collaboration between security agencies in future operations.

“Given the closeness of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) operation to the polling station, it should probably have been discussed with us, so that together we plan to ensure it was carried out successfully without any hitch,” he added.

Although a report of the happenings on January 31 was yet to be done,he said the Accra Regional Command had held meetings at the operational headquarters to review what happened with the election seen as incident-free except for the isolated issue at La-Bawaleshie Presbyterian School.

Disputing claims by the East Legon Police Commander, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) George Asare that he was sidelined in the preparation of operational strategy for the by-election, he explained that the various district and regional commanders were given duties to perform on the day of the Ayawaso by-election.

For the Accra Regional Command, Chief Supt. Ofori noted that divisional and district commanders access operational orders through WhatsApp and other messages saying that “for the Accra Region, the first thing is to visit our Accra Region WhatsApp group for operational orders.”

“No one was sidelined. Police operations are teamwork, which is why we request for briefings from the Divisional Commands in the constituency before the day of the by-elections. The East Legon Police Commander was at the joint briefing prior to the by-election. We have someone who monitors and handles the messages on our Accra Region messaging platforms,” he added.

After being informed of an incident at the school, the Accra Regional Operations Director said he moved to the scene from his patrol duties in the constituency and ordered all patrol units to move there to restore calm.

Together with DSP Abena Kwabena, East Legon Police Crime Officer, he said they saw a mass of people, stones and some stains of blood at various points where the scuffle took place.

Upon meeting with the National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary candidate after some initial difficulty in his house, he said he stationed nine police men to provide security and ensure his safety.

He said it came to his attention during interactions with the crowd that some masked and armed men in a police vehicle fired gunshots adding that he saw the Hunter vehicle and the SWAT operatives for the first time at Ayawaso West Wuogon that night.

On the retrieval of bullet casings which were said to be in the possession of some civilians, Chief Supt Ofori said his outfit would do whatever it takes to get to the Wala chief, alleged to have refused to hand them over, to take them back.

The Regional Command he said was ready to submit itself to support the national Criminal Investigations Department (CID) which took over investigations of the incident to determine what really happened on the day.

Broadcast journalists, Bernardino Koku Avle and Paul Adom-Otchere of Citi FM and Metro TV respectively, appeared before the commission with audio and video evidences taken during the violence to help the commission with its work.

By Claude Nyarko Adams

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