The National Security Minister, Mr Kan Dapaah, has told the Commission of Inquiry investigating the circumstances that led to violent attacks during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election two weeks ago that, the masked men deployed on the day were professionally trained officers and not political party vigilante group members in security uniforms.
The Minister told the Commission the masked men comprised of 25 personnel who were armed with weapons whereas 35 others were civilian personnel who were unarmed.
The masked men he stressed are professionally trained to provide guard duties and sometimes are attached to the police to assist them with patrols or special duties.
Reacting to comments by Director General of Operations at the Police Headquarters Alex Mensah that, the police was not aware of the masked men and that “We need to investigate to see those who came were from the National Security or policemen,” he said, the director was misconstrued.
The Minister revealed he personally spoke with the Director of Operations for the Police Service and his response was that, he had just gotten out of his car when he was confronted by journalists on whether he knew the masked men and his response to the media was that, he did not know the men the journalists were referring to.
When he was further confronted with comments that the IGP had denied knowledge of the masked men, Mr Dapaah said, it was not surprising because the commander of the masked men, does not report to the Director of Operations and this arrangement, has been the laid down procedures for the activities of the personnel who were seen at the residence of the NDC candidate.
The men, dressed in black polo shirts and khaki trousers stormed the La Bawaleshie Primary School polling station where voting was ongoing to elect a new MP following the death of Kyeremanten Agyarko.
They are alleged to have fired gunshot and slapped the NDC MP for5 Ningo Prampram, Sam George.
The NDC reacted to the violence by withdrawing from the by-election, accusing the NPP and the president of deliberately intimidating voters and their polling agents.
But the Minister in a different narrative reiterated that, the masked officers were deployed because they picked information the residence of the NDC candidate, Dela Brempong’s residence was stocked with guns.
He also alleged that, gunshots were fired from the residence of the NDC MP and in response, the masked men also fired warning shots but the shots did not hit anyone.
He insisted that, ‘’I want it to be on record that, the masked men were not party vigilante group,’’ they were professionally trained personnel attached to the national security.