KNUST riot: We got the intelligence late because I wasn’t in Kumasi at the time – Reg’l Minister
“We got the intelligence very late. Maybe, if I had been in Kumasi I could have had the information a bit earlier. When I got the information it was late so quickly, I called the Regional Police Commander and the other security agencies that they should meet and quickly send out a press release that we have heard of this and if they dare maybe we will treat them as criminals and not as students.
The Ashanti Region Minister Simon Osei-Mensah has said that the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) which he chairs received intelligence regarding the riot at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) late because he was not in Kumasi as of the time the disturbances occurred on Thursday August 18.
He intimated that when he eventually picked the intelligence, he quickly liaised with the Regional Police Commander to see how the situation could be controlled.
Mr Osei-Mensah further explained that although the law permits him as Chair of the REGSEC to move in, the University also has its own internal security arrangements that should be followed in matters of this nature.
It is during extreme cases such as terrorist attacks that the REGSEC can brush aside the university’s security arrangement and move in with force to tackle it, but not with this particular case.
Addressing a press conference in Accra on Wednesday August 24, he said “We got the intelligence very late. Maybe, if I had been in Kumasi I could have had the information a bit earlier. When I got the information it was late so quickly, I called the Regional Police Commander and the other security agencies that they should meet and quickly send out a press release that we have heard of this and if they dare maybe we will treat them as criminals and not as students.
“But it was unfortunate, by the time they released, the Vice Chancellor also called me that they have seen that the students were mobilising so we had to call the Regional Police Commander that they should get some people and quickly move in.
“What you normally do is that, you first call the nearest police station and send some few people there and help while we mobilize the needed forces to come and support you but in that process, it takes some time before you can gather them .
“You cannot just, because you are regional minister and the law, Act 10(30) of 2020 gives you the position as the chair of the REGSEC, you just get up and move security personnel to a university campus. No, they have their internal security so you have to discuss with the Vice Chancellor and the management there before you enter. You can only do that maybe in situation like terrorist situations.”
“When we heard and they went there calm was restored,” he stressed.
The ongoing Police investigation into the rioting has led to the arrest of two more suspects.
Suspect Francis Tutu Atuahene, alias Aroma, who is a level-200 student of the university was captured in a video holding an offensive weapon among others during the riot.
Suspect Daniel Osei Bonsu alias Saint, a former student of the university who completed in the year 2020 was also captured with others destroying property on the university campus.
The two were put before the Asokore Mampong Magistrate Court and have been remanded into police custody to reappear on 8th September, 2022.
This brings to three (3) the number of persons so far arrested.
“Investigation is still ongoing to get all other perpetrators arrested,” a Police statement said on Wednesday August 24.