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18.12.2003 General News

Soldier Brutalizes GNA Reporter

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Gushiegu, (N/R), Dec. 18, GNA - Mr Caesar Abagali, a Reporter of the Tamale Office of the Ghana News Agency, was on Tuesday morning beaten by a soldiers while he was on his way to cover the District Level and Unit Committee Elections in the Gushiegu/Karaga District of the Northern Region.

Mr Abagali told the GNA that he was on a Tamale-Gushiegu bound passenger bus when they met the soldiers driving from the opposite direction in a pickup with registration number ER 1061 Q and they stopped the bus.

He said one of the soldiers, a Sergeant, came down from the pickup, approached the bus and asked the Reporter, who was sitting in the front seat why the driver was speeding.

Mr Abagali said he told the soldier to direct all questions to the driver and not him since he was only a passenger.

He said the Sergeant took offence at the response and verbally assaulted him saying: "You are too known! You are among the people, who do not want peace to prevail in Dagbon compelling soldiers to spend their time on peacekeeping".

At this stage, the Sergeant walked toward the pickup and one Corporal, who was on the pickup rushed to the Reporter's side and spoke in a language that the Reporter did not understand. When the Reporter told him that he did not understand the language, he got on to the bus and rained several blows with both hands on the Reporter.

"I will teach you how to respect and obey a soldier when he talks", he said, adding: "What I have done to you is just to let you learn a little sense."

Mr Abagali sustained injuries on his left eye and blood oozed from his nose and complained of pains in his ears and ribs.

Realizing the harm he had inflicted on the Reporter, the Corporal jumped down from the bus and rushed to the pickup. The Reporter got off the bus and went to the soldiers to show his injuries to them.

Mr Abagali later reported the incident to the Gushiegu Police, who issued him with a Police medical report form to take to the Gushiegu Health Centre where he was examined, treated and discharged. He said the injuries made him unable to monitor the elections in the morning and to file his report to Accra.

He said, however, that he managed to go round some of the polling stations in the rural communities with the District Chief Executive, Madam Rita Tani Iddi and the District Coordinating Director, Alhaji Yahaya Mahama.

In a related development, two Policemen and a soldier at the Yendi Road Check-point detained Mr B.D. Pobia, also a Reporter of the Tamale Office of the GNA, who was returning from the Zabzugu/Tatale District after covering the elections there.

Mr Pobia was on a Zabzagu-Accra bound mammy truck loaded with yams and when they reached the Yendi Operation Barrier at about 2030 hours, a Policeman approached the driver and asked him to come down and meet him. When the driver went down, he was asked to part with 10,000 cedis but the driver declined and said he could only offer them 6,000 cedis. The Policeman refused to accept the 6,000 cedis and ordered the driver to park the vehicle.

He told the driver: "This is an operation barrier, if you joke, I will beat you up and put you in the cells to teach you a lesson. You must know that for some time now I have not seen my family so be very careful."

At this stage, the Reporter then came down from the vehicle and went to plead with them to allow the vehicle to go to enable them to beat the curfew in Tamale but they refused and detained them for nearly two hours.

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