Crime

CHRAJ receives complaint of 2 soldiers abusing journalist

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) says it has received a complaint of abuse of a journalist by two soldiers.

Mr James Harry Obeng, a journalist, was on Wednesday allegedly manhandled by the two military men at Michelle Camp for committing no offence.

He said he first lodged a complaint at Mataheko police station but the police advised him to report the case to CHRAJ.

Mr Obeng said the soldier, whose names he gave as Owusu and Mensah, made him to weed for one hour before they released him.

When contacted, an officer at the Complainants Unit, CHRAJ, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed the story to the Ghanaian Times, and said three directors of the commission would look into the case, and determine whether the commission had the mandate to conduct further investigations.  

In an interview with the Ghanaian Times, Mr Obeng stated that he joined a 207 Bus at Afienya and headed to Accra on Wednesday.

 He said upon nearing a junction called Mateheko Number 1, the driver of the bus picked a passenger.

Mr Obeng said  some drivers at the Matehoko Number 1 junction, have been trying to create a commercial transport ( trotro-cum-taxi station), and that  anytime another driver on the Tema/Ashaiman-Afienya route conveyed a passenger at or near that junction, those drivers chased that driver out.

He said as someone who uses the road on daily basis, he noted that attempts by the Mataheko drivers to chase the offending driver(s) oftentimes, resulted in heated confrontations.

“In my case, the driver, after picking the passenger, drove onto the lane of oncoming (Tema/Ashaiman-Afienya) cars, instead of remaining on the lane (Afienya-Tema/Ashaiman). I think his intention was to avoid having any confrontation with the drivers at the Mateheko Number 1 Junction.

Nevertheless, immediately after bypassing that junction, he joined the proper lane (Afienya-Tema/Ashaiman) and went off the lane of oncoming cars,” he added. 

On reaching the Michel Camp main gate, Mr Obeng said the drivers at Mataheko, riding on board a  blue 207 bus and running on top speed on the lane of oncoming cars, came and “crossed my car right in front of the Michel camp main gate”.

He said the drivers then questioned the driver of the vehicle he (Mr Obeng) was travelling on, eventually causing traffic jam.  

Then, the soldiers manning the gate at the Michel Camp trooped to the scene apparently to restore order.

At this point, he said “all the passengers in the car I was in, including myself, were getting down to take another car to continue our journey to Accra and immediately I got out of the car, a soldier (with the name-tag Owusu on his uniform) asked that I explain to him what had caused the confrontation involving the two buses, from my perspective as a passenger. 

“So we (the soldier and I) got off the road to the roadside (right in front of the Michel camp gate) and started to narrate what I saw. Then, he (the soldier) cut into my explanation that I should follow him inside the gate to continue my narration. I obliged and followed him in, and then completed narrating the account to him.” 

BY MALIK SULLEMANA

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