Two soldiers from the Fourth Infantry Battalion (4BN) “descended” on the Chairman of the Ashanti Regional branch of the Ghana journalists Association, Kingsley E. Hope, snatching his camera from him.
Reasons?: The military men accused Mr Hope, also the Ashanti Regional Correspondent for the Ghanaian Times of the New Times Corporation, of taking a picture of them, at the Prempeh II high street. The incident took place on Friday, at about 4:20PM.
Bubbling with satanic fury, the soldier, identified as WO Owusu, who snatched the device, threatened to smash it on the ground. He ordered the journalist to leave the place or risked being heckled.
“You are invading my territory, if you don’t leave here I will push you away”, he threatened as he pointed his gun at the journalist. According to Mr. Hope; he took a picture of a barricade at the Prempeh II high street. Moment afterward, he heard a shout from behind him and when he turned the soldiers called him.
He said when he approached them they asked why he had taken a picture of them, to which he responded in the negative.
The Regional Chairman said in an attempt to show them the picture as they demanded, WO Owusu snatched the portable KODAK camera from him amidst anger.
He said he called the 4BN’s Public Relations Officer, Captain Osei-Duah, who made efforts to talk to the soldiers to scrutinize the pictures taken if they were indeed shot. But WO Owusu told her, “I am not an expert in photography and so I cannot do that, I am taking it to the experts”.
Capt. Osei-Duah, he said, called a senior officer the soldiers report to, and he decided to come to the scene, but while waiting the two soldiers joined a military truck that popped up.
A follow up to 4BN at about 5: 15PM was an exercise in futility as the journalist was turned away by the Command after some 45 minutes, to come the following day, Saturday.
This is not the first time the military have “descended” on journalist during the lockdown directives.
On April 5, this year, at Aboabo Akurem community in south-central Kumasi, a group of soldiers attacked and briefly detained Yussif Abdul Ganiyu, a reporter with the German government-funded Deutsche Welle news agency and the local privately owned Zuria FM radio station.
Similarly, on April 10, 2020, soldiers enforcing pandemic restrictions assaulted Samuel Adobah, a journalist with the privately owned TV Africa, while he was reporting on a fire in the Ablekuma district of the Greater Accra region.