Comments made by Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Samuel Kojo Azugu that the masks worn by the men seen on the day of the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, was to protect them from mosquito bites was meant for a joke, Director of Operations for the SWAT Team, Colonel Opoku has said.
Appearing before the committee on Wednesday, Colonel Opoku said, DSP Azugu was only joking when he made the comments, which has gone viral on social media.
He also explained to the committee the masked men were giving confidence to the electorates to come out in their numbers to vote as required of them.
‘’The masks as my DSP said was for mosquito bites; it wasn’t for mosquitoes. I think it was just a joke that he made. But we normally mask to ensure that our operatives are not seen. Operatives live within the communities…So normally those who live within and those who are likely to be seen and their cover is likely to be blown after their operation are masked and in this situation, those who were masked, that was the essence, we didn’t want their cover to be blown.’’
Describing the masked operation as ‘’Confidence Patrols’, he said, the essence of that patrol was to let the constituents know the security forces were ready to prevent vigilante groups from disturbing the election on that day.
DSP Azugu became a subject of ridicule after appearing before the Commission of Inquiry because of his mosquito bites explanation.
“My Lord sometimes we wear those masks because of mosquito bites. To prevent mosquitoes from biting our ears and faces,” DSP Azugu said during the cross examination at the Justice Emile Short’s Commission of Inquiry on Monday, February 18, 2019 in Accra.
Though he told the committee he was yet to know the reason why his men wore masks at the by-election, he said they wore the mask to protect their faces.
But Colonel Opoku in reacting said, DSP made the comments because his thinking ability was affected after he was subjected to about 4 hours of grilling by the Commission of Inquiry.
‘’My Lord you remember he gave two reasons; one was the fact that, when they go to certain places, there would be mosquitoes so they normally carry them along and they use it to cover their face and the second reason he gave was the fact that, they don’t want to be seen because they live in the community but I think the people have taken the mosquito one as the one of the importance more than keeping their identity away from the populace. That was why I said you should take that one as a joke,’’ he explained.