Six members of the Northern Regional Election Monitoring Task Force arrested and detained briefly, a radio journalist, Issah Murtala Kpambe, after violently assaulting him at a polling station in the Tamale Central Constituency.
Kpambe, a correspondent of the state-owned Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) was detained at the regional office of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) for about thirty minutes. He was released on a self recognisance bail upon the intervention of Chief Inspector Ebenezer Tetteh, the regional police public relations officer. He was to reappear on December 31.
Kpambe told Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) that he met his ordeal at Sankpagla Polling station when he filmed a scuffle between the election taskforce made up of armed police officers and military personnel and some well built men at the constituency.
“I brought out my digital camera and started filming, in less than a minute, one of the police officers grabbed my trousers and hit me on the neck, immediately all their attention was on me. Four police officers and two military officers jumped on me and started kicking and pounding my chest.” Kpambe narrated.
As if that was not enough the officers stripped Kpambe naked and tore his shirt. His digital camera was damaged and also confiscated. Even when it became clear that he was a journalist, the attack continued unabated.
“I was held like a criminal to the northern regional police headquarters, and then I was told I was under arrest, but no one told me what my offence was,” he emphasised.
Confirming the incident to MFWA, Chief Inspector Tetteh, the regional police PRO said they were investigating the incident and that they would soon make public their findings and recommendations.
MFWA once again condemned this high-handedness of the security agencies in the country. Such attacks undermine the rights of journalists and constitute a threat to freedom of expression as guaranteed in the 1992 Constitution of the country.
MFWA called on the Inspector General of the Police and the Minister of Interior to ensure that journalists pursue their legitimate duties without fear or intimidation.