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Ruling party supporters assault opposition cameraman

(MFWA/IFEX) - Babs Hammer, a cameraman for Ghana's former president Jerry John Rawlings, was reportedly attacked on 14 December 2008 by members of the entourage of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the presidential candidate of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP). The cameraman was targeted for filming Akufo-Addo without his permission.

MFWA's correspondent reported that the incident occurred at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Kumasi, Ghana's second largest city, where the ex-president and his entourage were staying. Dignitaries, including Ghanaian President John Agyekum Kufuor, had converged in Kumasi to participate in the Akwasidae festival.

Hammer told the correspondent that the Akufo-Addo entourage, including police officers and party sympathisers, attacked him. During the attack, one of the policemen hit him in the head with the butt of a gun, resulting in a deep cut on his head. Hammer's video camera was seized and destroyed in the scuffle.

According to Hammer, after his ordeal some of the policemen bundled him into one of their vehicles and briefly detained him at the Buffalo Unit of the Kumasi Central Police. He was later released without charge.

The Ashanti Regional Police Commander, Kwasi Opare Ayensu, who confirmed the incident to MFWA, said his outfit was investigating the matter and anyone found guilty of any offence would be sanctioned.

He described the action of the photojournalist, who works for the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), as provocative but denied that police assaulted Hammer. He said, on the contrary, that the police rescued him from further attacks by party supporters.

Hammer was treated at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and discharged the same day.

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