Editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper has revealed that the gentleman who led the assault on a police officer at the Flagstaff House earlier this week has gone into hiding.
According to Kweku Baako, the former police officer and a member of the vigilante group, Invincible Forces, is being sought by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service to assist in investigations but cannot be found.
Speaking on Joy FM/MultiTV’s news analysis programme Newsfile, on Saturday, the veteran journalist said “My checks only yesterday indicated that the gentleman has gone into hiding.
“He was a former policeman himself so they know him, they are looking for him to apprehend him and his guys who supported him and continue with investigations,” he said.
Some members of Invincible Forces were caught on tape assaulting ASP Bruce Nanka at the Flagstaff House in a video that went viral on social media this week.
The footage which was taken by CCTV cameras at the seat of government on January 9, 2017 – President Akufo-Addo’s first day in office – showed members of the vigilante group chasing ASP Bruce as he drove out of the Flagstaff House.
The gentlemen succeeded in accosting ASP Nanka and attempted to seize his vehicle, but the intervention of other security personnel saved the situation.
ASP Bruce who was a guard at the Flagstaff House during former president John Mahama’s tenure lodged a complaint with the police administration about the assault, but withdrew the complaint on February 21, 2017, according to Kweku Baako.
Despite his withdrawal, the police CID is still pursuing the case, he said.
Kweku Baako condemned the attack on ASP Bruce describing it as lawless, adding “no matter the provocation, it was lawless and what is more to perpetuate that act at the presidency.”
The broader issue for him was the level of freedom vigilante groups enjoys as a result of their affiliation with political parties.
He said a situation where political parties are made to provide their own security is wrong and if “state institutions are impotent, unwilling, unable to act or play the role that they ought to play, it provides the basis for these things to happen.
“And both the political class and the professional in the security services are contributing to this situation. When things like these happen, we investigate, we don’t tell anybody the status of the investigation, we don’t prosecute, we don’t do anything, the matter becomes part of the political football.”
“This is resulting in a culture of impunity,” he added.
He called on members of parliament to act and get the Interior Minister to come and give a report on all these incidences, “for us to interrogate the issue. An urgent question directed at the Interior Minister is necessary.”
Other panelists on the show also called for some action to be taken to deal with the issue of vigilante groups.
Private legal practitioner, Kofi Bentil said it is important for Ghana’s national institutional memory to record these incidences.
He said there’s no need to call for the disbandment of these vigilante groups, but there should be swift justice once they go against the law.
“Because of the nature of these types of groups, the police must have a very keen eye on clipping their wings.”
He commended the president for making a public pronouncement on the issue but added that “impotent condemnation can be an irritation. If the president is constantly commenting publicly on law ad order, reveals his ineffectiveness to deal with it.”
For him, once the president has charged the police to arrest and prosecute these lawless persons, the onus now lies on the police to take charge and deal with this issue.
“They say, speak softly, carry a big stick. It is absolutely not acceptable that nobody has lost heir jobs, but people are being harassed in this country today.
“If the president says I have told the IGP and the police people involved to do their job, he should say it once and if it happens again, he should make sure someone is doing their job or relieve them of their position then everybody will get the message.”
Kweku Ricketts Hagan
Former Central Regional Minister, Kweku Ricketts Hagan believes this is happening because people have decided to use the government of the day to take the law into their own hands.
He said he was glad that the president addressed the issue, but “I thought it was too little too late…because there is a danger that if we don’t put a stop to it and we have these groups attached to political parties we are going to be going down roads that in the end will not auger well for us.
“We have seen what is going on else where, we had a very smooth transition, but going down this route destroys everything that we have done and it is a danger for all of us and we need to talk about these things and talk about them early enough.”
He stressed that the issue should not be brushed under the carpet because “these are not normal crimes happening at normal times.”