Don’t be used like a zombie – Former IGP chides SWAT Commander
A former Inspector General of Police and member of the Emile Short commission, Patrick K. Acheampong has called into question the planning and tactics of the National Security SWAT team as the probe of the Ayawaso West Wuoguon by-election continues.
The Commander of the National Security SWAT team, DSP Samuel Azugu’s submissions before the team left many observers questioning his competence.
Many Ghanaian who observed proceedings on Monday were unhappy with some of the things DSP Azugu told the Commission.
Mr. Acheampong deduced from the SWAT Commander’s testimony that his team was clearly not adequately prepared for the by-election.
“This was an improperly planned operation. This was a spontaneous action. That is the way you have been acting most of the time. You go to the office they tell you to go to the place and you go.”
No intel on NDC candidate
DSP Samuel Azugu said he was first informed of a possible swoop at a house in the constituency at 3:30 am on the day of the by-election.
He said he was also given a description of the house suspected to contain weapons. DSP Azugu said he was later informed that the house was that of the National Democratic Congress Parliamentary Candidate for the by-election, Delali Brempong.
“The description of the house was given” but on who owned the house, DSP Samuel Azugu said, “at that point, I never knew.”
He also noted that “the green light was not given” for us to enter the house, but the SWAT only started the operation when they purportedly saw men on motorbikes that represented a threat to the election.
But in the course of the operation, the SWAT team retreated when confronted with about a hundred men acting aggressively towards the team, according to DSP Azugu.
Though he admitted that information was insufficient, he added that “with my work at the National Security, I don’t have cause to doubt any information.”
But Mr. Acheampong stressed that the limited intelligence the SWAT team was operating with affected the operation.
“If they had told you that that was the house of the NDC candidate taking part in the election that morning, you would have done your planning differently isn’t it?”
“If that’s the way you have been operating all the time or the way your bosses have been dealing with you all the time, it is improper isn’t it?”
DSP Samuel Azugu responded “yes my lord” to the queries.
Don’t behave like zombies
Mr. Acheampong’s advise was that DSP Samuel Azugu should live up to his rank and challenge orders from his superiors amid his concerns that the SWAT unit was being misused.
“From now on, don’t sit down like [that], excuse me to say, the group; they shouldn’t be used like zombies — anybody comes and gives orders and you go. You don’t even know the risk involved.”
In his assessment of the mode of operations of the SWAT team, Mr. Acheampong also suggested that the team was misused and underutilized.
“It is just like any other police unit so the acronym SWAT actually doesn’t fit the job that you do. If you were properly SWAT, you could have breached that building.”