The Director of Operations of the National Security, Colonel Michael Opoku, says the national security operatives deployed to undertake an operation during the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency by-election wore mask to keep their identities secret.
He said because some of the operatives reside in the community, it was a prudent operational strategy for the operatives to wear masks to conceal their identities and protect their families who could be attacked in retaliation.
“Some of my men were masked because they live in those areas and we do not want their cover to be blown. It is also done to protect the families of operatives who may be attacked just in retaliation by persons affected by operations of the national security. Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Samuel Azugu, the Commander of the team gave the reasons why the operatives wear the mask and explained that they sometimes wear it to protect themselves from mosquitoes, which I think was a joke,” he stated.
Colonel Opoku said this yesterday when he took his turn at the Commission of Inquiry on the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency by-election violence to provide testimony on the January 31 by-election violence.
He said his outfit had trained about 100 operatives who assist the 35 Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Unit attached to the National Security to carry out operations when necessary.
On why the National Security deployed 60 men to the constituency, he said that the National Security had gathered information that some people had moved from Kumasi and the northern parts of the country to Accra with weapons.
He stated that the team was deployed to provide the necessary surveillance and assure the public that no vigilante group could mar the by-elections and not intimidate voters.
Colonel Opoku said his outfit had to deploy the national security operatives together with the SWAT Unit because there were not enough SWAT team members available.
He confirmed earlier testimony by other officials from the national security that the team fired six warning shots after they were pelted with stones by some unknown men, in front of a residential facility belonging to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary candidate.
When questioned on the assault on the Member of Parliament (MP) of Ningo Prampram, Sam George, he said the MP and his men, who were also dressed in black shirt and khaki trousers, had initially attacked the national security operatives which resulted in the assault.
He said the operative who attacked Mr George had since been asked to “stand down” from operations.
The Director of Operations, who is scheduled to appear before the commission again on Monday, February 25, disputed the accounts on videos shown to him, saying “it was not a true reflection of the incidents at Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency. It was well doctored.”
– By Claude Nyarko Adams