The National Security Secretariat has refuted allegations that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government is training militiamen at a military base in Asutuare for the 2020 polls.
“The makers of these allegations who are immediate-past government officials are very familiar with these training programmes, even including similar ones conducted during their tenure. It is, therefore, unfortunate for such persons to seek to bastardise these standard and routine training exercises for political ends,” a statement by the Head of Public Information Department of the Ministry of National Security, Major Ignatius Awuni (Rtd), said.
This was in response to former President Mahama’s accusations that the Akufo-Addo-led administration is engaging thugs for combat for the 2020 general and parliamentary elections.
Speaking about electoral violence during a visit by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) earlier in the week, Mr Mahama said he prays the level of violence that marred the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election is not repeated on a nationwide scale.
“We remember what happened in Ayawaso West Wuogon. I pray that God forbid, nothing like that ever happens again. But you know the issue of vigilantes, especially one party is training vigilantes.
“I remember at the time of Ayawaso West Wuogon, there was a letter that came out asking party executives to bring able-bodied people to be trained as security.
“Since then, we have evidence that those people have been to Asutuare and trained in batches over and over again in all kinds of combat techniques and other things.
“It’s is a worry that Ayawaso West Wuogon will be repeated on a larger scale than it did”, Mr Mahama, who is the main opposition National Democratic Congress’ 2020 flag bearer said.
He added: “This was only a by-election but the way things are going and from what we are hearing, it is possible that some sinister force is preparing to wreak violence during the [general] elections and this is something that we must look at.”
However, the National Security Secretariat maintains that the claim by Mr Mahama “is false and a deliberate effort to create false impressions about standard training programmes of national security recruits”.
Below is the full statement:
The National Security Council Secretariat has taken note of allegations that the National Security Training School at Asutuare is being used to train party vigilante groups ahead of the 2020 general elections.
The Secretariat hereby informs the public that this allegation is false and a deliberate effort to create false impressions about standard training programmes of national security recruits.
Since 2009, recruits into this outfit have been provided with standard training. No persons other than regular national security staff are trained by the Secretariat at the facility. Although owned by the National Security Secretariat, the facility is managed and run on a day-to-day basis by the Ghana Armed Forces. Other non-security state agencies and private institutions also use the facility to train their staff.
The makers of these allegations who are immediate-past government officials are very familiar with these training programmes, even including similar ones conducted during their tenure. It is, therefore, unfortunate for such persons to seek to bastardise these standard and routine training exercises for political ends.
The Secretariat assures the general public that it will at all times ensure that it works to promote rather than undermine the security of the state.
MAJOR IGNATIUS AWUNI (RTD)
HEAD, PUBLIC INFORMATION DEPARTMENT MINISTRY OF NATIONAL SECURITY