The Interior Minister has said the disturbances that ensued at La Bawaleshie on January 31 had nothing to do with the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.

Ambrose Dery told the Emile Short Commission on Thursday that the armed men who stormed the residence of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate, Delali Kwesi Brempong were there for a different business.

“It was not related to the election operation,” he stated.

Defending the integrity of the by-election, Ambrose Dery said the violence did not occur at a polling station but rather at a residence near a polling station.

Related: Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election was peaceful, smooth and orderly – EC

“That is why I do not feel it deviates from the briefing I got,” he said adding that the briefing he got was that the police and the immigration services would man the election.

The Minister, however, said the police are investigating the violence.

Ambrose Dery was speaking on Day One of the commission’s hearing at the Osu Castle in Accra.

He also told the commission that the vehicle that the armed men used on their operation does not belong to the police

The said vehicle was, however, branded with Police SWAT.

The armed men rode vehicles tagged police SWAT

The commission has a month to finish its work after which the Presidency is expected to act on its recommendations.

The disturbances

Few hours into the by-election, armed men stormed La Bawaleshie, a community in the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency.

Eyewitnesses say the men engaged in a shooting spree but the Minister of State in charge of National Security has said the men were sent there on intelligence that arms were being stockpiled at a particular location.

The NDC has since launched a series of attacks on the government, accusing it of masterminding the attacks in order to intimidate supporters and sympathisers of the NDC.