The Commander in charge of the National Security SWAT team that fired gunshots and wounded some 16 supporters of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) at La-Bawaleshi during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election on Thursday, 31 January 2019, has told the Short Commission of Inquiry that his men did not act professionally in their dealings with civilians.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Samuel Kojo Azugu told the three-member Commission on Monday, 18 January 2019 that: “When I saw the blood in that gentleman’s t-shirt, I said: ‘wow’.”
“They did not handle them [civilians] in a professional manner,” DSP Azugu said.
In his professional estimation, the masked SWAT operatives who shot the supporters at the residence of the NDC’s parliamentary candidate and also manhandled an opposition lawmaker, Mr Sameul Nnartey George, overreacted.
DSP Azugu also told the Commission, which is probing the violence that marred the by-election that he can only tell the commission, behind closed doors, the words uttered at his men by the MP, which led to him being slapped by one of the operatives.
DSP Azugu wrote Mr Nartey George’s supposed words on a piece of paper for the panel, insisting that re-echoing the invectives hurled at the operatives by the MP on live national television, could pose a security risk to Mr George.
Mr George was seen on video being slapped by a security operative after a heated exchange with the SWAT team during a melee at the private residence of Mr Kwesi Delali Brempong at La-Bawaleshie, barely an hour into the by-election.
The Commander said the SWAT team had gone to Mr Brempong’s house to intercept a cache of ammunition, which, Mr Azugu said the unit’s intelligence had picked up.
Questioned about what exactly the MP had said which got him assaulted, DSP Azugu told the Commission that, “With all due respect, if I say it, the MP may be attacked by somebody”.
“Let me give it to you in camera”, the SWAT Commander implored the Commission.
“I don’t want to be a carrier of a problem,” he said.
DSP Azugu also told the Commission that the operative who slapped the lawmaker is under investigation by the office of National Security.