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Guards prevent journalists from covering presidential visit to flooded region

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 28 April 2007, guards of President John Agyekum Kufuor prevented journalists from covering the president's visit to Tamale, capital of Ghana's Northern Region. Some of the journalists were roughed up and intimidated.

One journalist, Edmond Gyebi, a reporter for Accra-based independent daily "The Chronicle", told an MFWA correspondent that the intimidation and harassment began around 6:00 p.m. (local time) in Tamale Airport's presidential lounge, where they had gone to cover the arrival of the president. The journalists - about 19 in total - had been invited there by Regional Minister Mustapha Ali Idris.

Later, at the minister's residence, they were again prevented from covering the meeting. "As if that was not enough, the guards, led by Lance Corporal Akwasi Yeboah, ignored the pleas from some police officers and continued heckling us until the regional minister intervened," said Gyebi.

Another journalist, Mahama Shaibu, a regional correspondent for the independent Accra-based radio station Joy FM, confirmed the incident to MFWA, saying he was violently pushed by one of the security men the next day while reporting live from the hall where the president was addressing the people.

"I wish you had been there; the action of the guards was nasty," Shaibu told MFWA.

The president had gone to the region following a recent torrential downpour which flooded the city of Tamale and destroyed several properties.

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