Ghanaian journalist assaulted during casino raid

This statement was originally published on on 11 May 2021.

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) condemns the brutal assault on journalist Peter Tabiri by alleged Ghana National Security operatives and demands immediate investigations into the incident to bring the perpetrators to book.

Tabiri, a correspondent for Accra-based Pent TV in the Western North and Western Regions of Ghana, told the MFWA that on May 7, 2021, he was attracted to the scene of a violent security operation at the Petroland fuel station in the Asankragua township. It was a raid on a casino attached to the said fuel station involving a group of uniformed police officers and other plainclothes officers. Tabiri says that when he identified himself to a police officer as a journalist and inquired about the operation he was only told “We are from National Security” and brushed aside.

“I watched as security officers ransacked the facility, breaking everything including money boxes and taking out the money in them. But then some of them began destroying the CCTV cameras installed at the place, and this raised my suspicion that the exercise could be unauthorized,” Tabiri said.

The suspicious journalist then called the Amenfi Divisional Police Commander at a discreet distance to inform him of the incident, only to be pounced upon by the security agents and brutalised.

“They smashed my phone and proceeded to slap and hit and kick me several times. Not satisfied, they pressed me to the ground and poured water on me, amidst curses and insults on journalists,” Tabiri narrated to the MFWA.

When contacted, the Amenfi Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent Nana Kumi, confirmed the incident, adding that when he arrived at the scene in response to Tabiri’s call, the security operatives had put the journalist in the bucket of their pick-up.

Ironically, the assault on the journalist came just four days after Ghana’s Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, commissioned the Office for the Coordinated Mechanism on the Safety of Journalists as part of activities to mark World Press Freedom Day.

The police chief, who said he was not informed of the operation and did not know the officers involved, intervened to get the journalist released. Tabiri says he has lodged a complaint with the Asankragua Police and his statement has been taken. He is also being treated at the Thomas Allan Rooney memorial Hospital at Asankragua for ear problems as a result of the slaps he received.

The Media Foundation for West Africa deplores the vicious assault on Tabiri who was performing his duty as a journalist and a patriot. We call on the Minister of National Security to investigate the apparent act of thuggery by the police and alleged national security operatives and bring the perpetrators to book.

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Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.

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