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General News of Friday, 6 November 2020


Ammunition turned gas pistols: These are worrying questions that remain unanswered

Security Analyst, Col. Festus Aboagye (rtd), has said revelations by the police that a seized container of what was thought to be ammunition are gas pistols raises worrying questions.

Gas pistols are non-lethal weapons and are used mostly for self-defence purposes.

When the news about the seizure of the flagged container at the Tema Port broke last month, Florence Asante, the Assistant Commissioner in charge of Communication and Public Affairs, told the media that “after examination, 18 packages identified as restricted items were found in the container. These include 436 Pistols (side arms), 26 packs of 50 pieces of ammunition and a 40ml piece of pepper spray.”

The container arrived from Turkey and its contents were labelled as personal effects.

But after close to one month, police have said upon close examination, it has found that the seized items were not what they were thought to be.

Director of the Criminal Investigative Department (CID), COP Ken Yeboah, revealed on Thursday, November 5, 2020, that upon close examination, police have found that they were not lethal weapons.

Speaking to GhanaWeb on Thursday about the turn of events, Col Festus Aboagye (rtd), who is attached to the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), said the new twist in the case is strange.

“Were all the people from the many institutions that inspected the container after it has been flagged wrong? Several people were there when the container was opened and inspected the consignment of pistols which had not been declared.

“So, the first question is were all these people wrong? What expertise did they have individually and collectively in determining that the items that they [checked] were pistols to start with?” he quizzed.

He said if indeed the GRA officials and the officials from the other government agencies were wrong, then it raises a national security question.

“Can we indeed say that we are safe when our security issues are being managed by persons who in the one instance declare that certain items are pistols and, on another occasion, now suggests that no, they are not pistols?” he was worried.

He asked again: “if the items were indeed non-lethal gas pistols why were they not declared and categorised as personal effects by the importer?

“There is no gun that is considered a personal effect so why did the importer not declare the guns?” he stressed.

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