Director of Operations for the Police Service DCOP George Alex Mensah has confirmed before the Commission of Inquiry probing the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election shooting incident that vigilante groups in the country are owned by political parties.
Appearing before the Commission today [Friday], the police Deputy Commissioner said, all vigilante groups are owned and sponsored by politicians.
When asked what proactive measures adopted by the police to disband these groups he said, the Inspector General Police David Asante Apeatu has consistently called on political parties to disown vigilante groups so the police would be able to deal such lawless people.
In answering a question why the police have failed to crack the whip on these groups, he said, because the police only deal with criminal activities, it would be difficult to apprehend members of these groups when they have not committed a crime.
DCOP George Alex Mensah also told the committee he was not aware of any official report on the incident but can confirm the IGP has set up a committee to probe the matter involving the attack of Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, Sam George.
He further confirmed he only got to know that masked men had been deployed for the by-election through the media.
Meanwhile, he has said, the police cannot disband vigilante groups because ‘’we [police] did not form them.’’
The IGP has also underscored the need for all political parties to disband all their vigilante groups.
According to the IGP, it is against the country’s laws for political parties to have such groups that have recently been disturbing the peace of the country.
He warned persons harbouring any plans to form new vigilante groups to “reverse such intentions” or be dealt with according to the law.
He further cautioned people who disturb the peace of the country will be dealt with irrespective of their political affiliation.
“We want to appeal to all political parties to immediately denounce their own vigilante groups to create the necessary awareness that will embolden the police,” Asante Apeatu stated.
We [Police] “are poised to arrest and profile any group of people claiming to be vigilante groups irrespective of their political affiliations. We are declaring zero tolerance against political violence and vigilantism.”