I had no idea my men had masks - SWAT Commander
The Commander in Charge of the Police SWAT team, DSP Samuel Azugu says he did not see his men carrying mask to the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency during the by-election in the area on January 31.
According to the SWAT Commander, because he was engrossed in events on the grounds on the day, he did not take notice of his men wearing mask.
During the by-election, some armed masked men were spotted in parts of the constituency brutalizing people including a Member of Parliament, and this led to a public outcry with many complaining about why such personnel would be deployed during an exercise like a by-election.
But when DSP Azugu appeared before the Emile Short Commission of Inquiry which is investigating the violent incidence which occurred during the by-election, he said:
“I believe they put on the masks when we reached the grounds. If I had seen them before, I’d have asked them to remove them. If you did not give me a tangible reason, I will ask you to remove it,” he said.
He stated that although there are instances in the course of their operations where they put on mask, the by-election did not call for such.
“Because of our operations, we lie in ambush sometimes which means we can be attacked by mosquitoes which is why we have some gear that we wear.”
DSP Azugu also noted that the SWAT team was not on the ground for election purposes, and that they were there based on intelligence that some arms were being kept in a house near the La Bawaleshie polling station.
He disclosed that when his men got to the polling station near their target of operation, he asked the security personnel not to get down their official vehicle.
“We were stationed in our vehicles because I asked them that no one should get down,” DSP Azugu told members of the Commission.
He noted that he only instructed his men to act when they got to the venue where it was alleged some arms were being kept.
“There was sporadic shooting and I asked my men to fire warning shots.”
On whether his men were able to retrieve these arms allegedly being stocked at the said location, DSP Azugu said he called for reinforcement, hence, the police took over from his team, and that he could not confirm if the arms were retrieved or not.
“I am yet to be informed whether the police found weapons in the house when they entered.”