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10.11.2008 Politics

Rawlings Bodyguards Whack Journalist

By Daily Guide
Rawlings Bodyguards Whack Journalist

Former President Jerry Rwalings DAILY GUIDE's Wisdom Peter Awuku was on Saturday seriously assaulted at the residence of former President Jerry John Rawlings at Vume near Sogakope in the Volta region by security men at the residence.

The reporter had travelled to Vume to get details of the incident in which the body of an unidentified male adult was allegedly found on November 6 at 0700 hours at the entrance of the Speed Boat Yard of the former President's riverside residence.

Awuku was pounced on by three machomen for taking photographs of the Volta River.

He was given some hefty blows at the back of his head and had his digital camera, car key and mobile phone also seized.

It took the intervention of the District Police Commander, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Akwasi Asafo-Adjei, who was called to the scene by the reporter, for the items to be released.

It would be recalled that DAILY GUIDE carried a news report in its Saturday November 8, 2008 edition on the dead man found in front of Rawlings' residence. In the said report, it was stated that the South Tongu District Police was alerted about the development, while the caretakers at the residence informed Mr. Rawlings, who subsequently directed the owner of Cisneros Hotel, Dr. Ben Glover to make an official report to the police.

The DAILY GUIDE reporter went to the area to gather the necessary information from the Sogakope District Police and had afterwards gone to the house of the former President to take photographs of the river when the incident took place.

One of the caretakers, named Agbe, told DAILY GUIDE that taking photograph of the house was not allowed and that permission ought to be sought from Dr Ben Glover.

The reporter therefore left the place and positioned himself very far away from the ex-President's house to take photographs of the river.

However after taking a few shots, Agbe confronted him, threatening to beat him up for 'disobeying his orders'.

The reporter then told him that it was not possible for Mr. Rawlings to own the whole river and that the photographs he took had nothing to do with the house of the former President.

But Agbe pulled the reporter violently and took away his digital camera, swearing never to give it back to him.

Just after that, two other machomen came threatening that they would beat him up and immediately after the utterance, charged on the reporter and asked him to bring his mobile phone and car key.

When Mr. Awuku protested, the two men got furious and held him as one used his elbow to knock the back of his neck. The reporter then gave out the key and his phone to avoid further knocks.

It was when ASP Asafo-Adjei intervened and assured them that DAILY GUIDE had earlier spoken to him and that the photographs were part of the investigations, that they reluctantly gave out the seized items.

Earlier when DAILY GUIDE contacted ASP Safo-Adjei at Sogakope, he debunked the earlier report that the body was found near the former President's house, indicating that the body was rather found in the river.

He said he had a call from an officer of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) at about 8.00am on Thursday that a dead man suspected to have drowned was found floating about 40 metres away from the former President's house.

ASP Asafo-Adjei said he then informed his Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent of Police William Akpalu Akpesseh and subsequently dispatched some men to the scene who discovered that the body had been washed away.

According to the District Commander, at 6.00am on Thursday some fishermen saw the floating body and therefore drew the attention of the caretaker.

The caretaker, he continued, then called Mr. Rawlings who was in the Ashanti region, to inform him of the development.

Mr. Rawlings was said to have instructed the caretaker to inform Dr. Glover to immediately alert the police.

ASP Asafo-Adjei noted that Dr. Ben Glover, the owner of Hotel Cisneros at Sogakope was informed, and he in turn sent his chief security officer to the scene.

ASP Asafo-Adjei stated that it was not unusual to see dead bodies floating on the river, adding that the bodies were usually not retrieved and ended up at Ada in the Greater Accra region.  

The police commander ruled out any foul play, and stressed that nobody had reported to the police of their missing relative.

He told the paper that following the publication, a team of experts were coming from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) headquarters in Accra to investigate the matter.

At the time of filing this report, the body had still not been retrieved as it was believed to have drifted further downstream, probably floating towards Ada.

A DAILY GUIDE Report

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