The SWAT team of the Office of National Security deployed to the La-Bawaleshie polling station during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election were poorly trained for the exercise, the Emile Short Commission tasked to probe the violence has observed in its report submitted to President Nana Akufo-Addo.
One of the SWAT team members, Bright Ernest Akomea, also known as ‘Double’, on Tuesday, 5 March 2019 told the three-member Justice Emile Short Commission of Inquiry that he was trained for three weeks as a recruit when he joined the national security apparatus.
‘Double’ said he was dealing in mobile phones at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra before he joined the National Security set-up two years ago.
‘Double’ became a person of interest to the Commission during its one-month public hearing into the gun violence that marred the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election on Thursday, 31 January 2019, when the Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, Mr Sam Nartey George testified before the Commission that he (Double) was among the masked national security operatives who shot into a crowd that had gathered at the residence of the NDC’s parliamentary candidate, Mr Delali Kwasi Brempong, which injured 16 victims.
“Shots were immediately fired into the air. I immediately took cover against a wall and stood against it. Because the next 60 seconds appeared to be stuff from an action movie. I saw a number of the armed men pull out their side weapons and fire into the direction of the crowd. I saw Double [a National Security operative] pull out his AK-47 and fire. The gun jammed; I saw him clear his chamber, reload the gun and fired several rounds from his AK-47,” Mr Sam George told the Commission when he appeared.
‘Double’, however, denied ever shooting during his testimony.
However, the Commission, in its final report, said among other things that it “finds that the guns were not aimed into the skies.”
It added: “The apparent recklessness which the SWAT team discharged their guns as a means of crowd control is indicative of poor training.”