Guinea: Soldiers assault journalist for taking photos of demolition operation

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) strongly condemns the attack on journalist Ahmed Sékou Nabé while he was covering a military operation in Kankan.

On May 24, 2022, Ahmed Sékou Nabé, a reporter for the radio station Espace FM in Kankan in Guinea, and two of his colleagues went to the Missiran district in the urban commune of Kankan. They had heard about a military operation to clear industries and citizens accused of having erected their buildings on state property.

Ahmed, who is also a correspondent for mediaguinee, an online news outlet, said he had his press card on him while covering the military operation when he was confronted by the deputy commander of the Soundjata Keita Military Camp in Kankan.

“He came to me and asked why I was taking pictures. I also told him that I am from the press. I showed him the press jacket and the badge I was wearing, but he wouldn’t listen. He pulled me and pushed me to the side of the road.

“He ordered me to hand over my phone, but I refused. He dragged me and with the help of another soldier they managed to snatch my phone. They wanted to delete everything. Other soldiers even told them to reset the phone, but it was locked. Colonel Kolipé forced me to use my fingerprint to unlock the phone. They accessed the gallery and deleted all the pictures that I had taken,” Ahmed Sékou Nabé explained his ordeal to the MFWA.

In the process of deleting the photos, Ahmed said, the deputy commander of the military camp, Colonel Kolipé, threatened to slap him if he uttered a word. The commander further threatened to arrest and process the journalist to court should he see any photo of the operation on the web.

This incident is indicative of the threat to the safety of journalists from security officers. On May 10, 2022, Guinea’s security forces brutalized and dragged on the ground Mohamed M’bemba Condé, a journalist with the radio station Espace Kania and correspondent for the online newspaper Guinée Matin. The journalist’s work material was also damaged during the altercation with the soldiers who were conducting an operation to mark buildings as part of the recovery of state property.

The MFWA is outraged by the treatment meted out to Nabé. We urge the Guinean authorities to investigate the incident and punish the perpetrators of this atrocity which is a violation of press freedom and freedom of expression.

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