The Inspector General of Police (IGP) has ordered the interdiction of three police officers over their role in the assault of three reporters of the state-owned media company, Ghanaian Times.
The three officers are Inspector Issac Opare of the Ministries Division/Accra; Sgt. Ebenezer Akrofi of the Accra Regional Police Headquarters and L/Cpl. Evans Kofi Ntim of the Police Visibility/Accra.
The Journalists were travelling in their official vehicle when their car was struck and damaged by a police officer using an unregistered motorcycle.
They were then assaulted when they tried to film the officer who had hit them with the motorbike.
In a statement signed by the Director General in charge of Public Affairs of the Police Service, ACP David Eklu, the service has now asked the Accra Regional Crime Officer to take over investigations into the incident from the Ministries Police Station.
“The Inspector General of Police has further directed the Accra Regional Crime Officer to take over the investigation of the case from Ministries Police Station. He has also instructed the Commander of the Accra Central Motor Traffic Unit to take over the Motor Traffic Accident aspect of the case. Both are to Submit their reports in one week:
“Additionally, the Police Professional and Standard Bureau ( PPSB) has also been directed to look into the conduct of the Police officers who were on duty at the Ministries Police Station when the incident was reported.”, the statement added.
How the journalists were assaulted
Raissa Sambo, Malik Suleman and Salifu Abdul Rahman were travelling in their official vehicle to their various assigned venues when they decided to film an accident involving a police officer riding an unregistered motorcycle who had hit their vehicle.
About ten police officers, who were unhappy about the filming and ensuing exchanges between the journalists’ driver and the police motor rider, and in an attempt to cease the recording device, reportedly pounced on the journalists and assaulted them.
One of the journalists, a lactating mother who had her baby through a caesarean section, was hit in the lower abdomen, collapsed, and was rushed to the Emergency Unit of the Ridge Hospital while the others were again manhandled by the police.
Already, the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has condemned the assault and wants a swift investigation into the matter it described as “barbaric.”
It has also called on the police to fish out the officer who perpetrated the act and punish him accordingly.
Gov’t apologizes to assaulted Ghanaian Times reporters
The Minister for Interior, Ambrose Dery has apologized to the media for the assault on the reporters.
Describing the incident as unfortunate, Mr. Dery called for stronger ties between the media and the security agencies to foster peace.
“There were some unfortunate incidents of journalists not being identified and I heard there were some things about Ghanaian Times and those are the things that we need to work on and address because we are partners and we are not supposed to be fighting.
“If we are fighting, hallelujah for the criminals so I want to say on behalf of the Ministry and I speak for the President as well that we apologize for whatever my sector agency might have had with you people. It is in the spirit of the President to push for the frontiers of free expression and that is the only way we can progress as a nation,” he added.