The attacks on journalists in the country seem to be an unending tale as two reporters from the Ghanaians Times were assaulted yesterday by about 10 policemen and a military man.
Malik Sulemana and Raissa Sambou were physically brutalised for engaging an officer who had jumped traffic and broken the bumper, mirror and windscreen of the Nissan saloon car they were travelling on.
Raissa, who is a nursing mother, had to be rushed to the Greater Accra Regional (Ridge) Hospital after going unconscious as she was elbowed and punched in the tummy by one of the raging policemen.
Malik, who was thrown into a police cell for close to four hours at the Ministries Police Station, received medical attention later at the Cocoa Clinic.
A Senior Assistant Editor, Salifu Abdul Rahman, was also heckled by the men in uniform with threats to confiscate his bag and phone.
Narrating his ordeal, Malik said a policeman riding on an unregistered motorbike jumped traffic and hit the New Times Corporation vehicle at the Kinbu road and sped off.
He said a pillion motor rider who was just behind the policeman
and saw what happened tried to stop him, but the policeman rode on.
When the Times driver chased and managed to block the policeman around Kinbu Traffic Light junction, he said he got off the vehicle and started videotaping which the policeman detested and attempted to snatch his phone.
Angered by the development, Malik said the policeman punched his face resulting in blood gushing out through his nostril.
Other policemen and a soldier in uniform joined in pushing, kicking, slapping punching, insulting and headbutting him, he added
During the melee, he said his phone was taken on the blind side of the policemen by Raissa and handed over to the driver.
After searching for the phone without success, he said he was handcuffed and bundled into a police vehicle and sent to Ministries Police Station.
“They ignored my plea to them to send me to hospital for medical attention. While lying almost motionless in the police cell, they brought me out and dragged me on the staircase to an office on the second floor. They dragged me back into the cell and urged the inmates to beat me up when I insisted to write my statement only in the presence of my lawyer,” he narrated.
While in the cell, he said the policemen boasted that “journalists only make noise when they are assaulted and that this one too shall pass”.
Malik said his pain reached excruciating level when one policeman at the counter who goes by the name S. Nukunu, hit him on the back several times.
He said he was brought out of the cell and issued a police medical form after the Editor of Ghanaian Times,
Mr David Agbenu and News Editor, Matthew Ayinne Ayoo went to the police station in the company of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) David Eklu, Director of Public Affairs, Ghana Police Service and Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Effia Tenge, Greater Accra Police Public Relations Officer.
Confirming the narration by Malik, Mr Rahman said the policemen were unruly and were determined to assault the journalists despite pleas from members of the public to stop it.
He noted that he was compelled to rush Raissa to the hospital to avoid any unfortunate consequence.
A motor rider who witnessed the incident, Xornam Jiagge, corroborated Malik’s account of the incidence adding that the military man, who was not part of the police team, only joined the men to beat the journalists because he thought the police were under attack.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has condemned the assault and called on the Police Administration to undertake swift investigations into the incident and, for once, punish the perpetrators of the heinous crime.
A statement signed and issued in Accra yesterday by Affail Monney, President of GJA, described the assault as barbaric in an era of rule of law when the police were supposed to be law enforcers rather than law breakers.
“We call on the Police Administration to find and punish the perpetrators of this dastardly act to serve as deterrent to others and redeem the image of the Ghana Police Service from the shameful tag of a brutish institution. This incident must not be added to the list of unresolved cases of assault against journalists by police officers. This culture of impunity must end now!” it added.
The statement said the GJA would not relent in its efforts to seek justice for all journalists who have been assaulted by police officers in the past and urged all well-meaning Ghanaians to join in the condemnation of the barbaric conduct by the police.
By Times Reporter