Soldiers Slap Journalist
Some Military Police officers yesterday created a nasty scene at the 56 th Independence anniversary celebration when one of them slapped and shoved a photographer from The Ghanaian Times, Vincent Dzatse, at the Independence Square.
The brutality which attracted the attention of many became a cynosure at the poorly attended parade with many sympathizing with the victim of the unnecessary assault.
Vincent, who narrated the tortuous ordeal to DAILY GUIDE, said he was at the Independence (Black Star) Square to cover the proceedings of the celebration as a member of the presidential press corps together with his colleague journalist, Samuel Nuamah.
When he arrived at the event venue, the middle-aged man said he took a position in front of the Osu wing of the square to enable him to get good shots.
Moments later, Vincent said he was confronted by some uniform Military Police officers, asking him to move back because they claimed he was too close to the marked square on which the parade was being held.
Meanwhile, the assaulted photographer said he was two steps away from the supposed marking and therefore told the officers he was not close to the marking.
‘Still the man came to me that I should go back and I said, ‘look at where I am standing; I am even behind it”, he explained.
This seemed to have infuriated one of the officers who angrily moved towards him with a truncheon in hand asking why he was challenging his orders.
Even before he could say another word, one officer gave him a hefty slap in the full glare of his colleague journalists and the public.
According to the usually calm Vincent, it did not end there and that ‘he (referring to the officer) used the truncheon in the direction of my private part but luckily for me it didn’t touch any of my… this thing but it touched my thighs.’
Not even the pleas of his colleague journalists, bystanders and the removal of his press card to prove he was a media practitioner could convince the soldiers to stop visiting brutality on him since, in his own words, ‘They pulled me out that I should go out of the place, then they used the truncheon on my head.’
One of them was noted to have remarked ‘we have been trained to kill.’
It took the intervention some operatives of the National Security and the Police Public Relations officer in the Greater Accra region, DSP Freeman Tettey, to save Vincent from the hands of the angry soldiers since, according to eye witnesses, they were dragging behind the Square to ostensibly teach him a lesson.
When this reporter spoke to the victim of the incident three or so hours after parade, he was yet to go to the police to lodge a formal complaint let alone go to the hospital for treatment, indicating that ‘if you see my head now it’s swollen and because of the way they manhandled me I’m feeling body pains.’
By Charles Takyi-Boadu