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Journalist briefly detained, manages to escape

(MFWA/IFEX) - Dauda Mohammed, a newspaper photographer who was reportedly abducted on 12 July 2010 by unidentified men for taking pictures of a private mansion of former president Jerry John Rawlings, reportedly escaped from his abductors, after about an hour in detention.

Mohammed, a reporter for the privately-owned newspaper "The Insight", told Accra-based Joy FM in an interview that as he was taking the pictures, a man wielding a knife emerged from a four-wheel vehicle and ordered him into the car, where three other men were already seated. According to Mohammed, he fled and his abductors pursued and detained him with the help of another man, who thought he was a thief.

Mohammed said he was hit in the face and taken to an unidentified location, where he was asked about his motive for taking the photographs. Fortunately, the door was unlocked and he managed to escape.

Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, the wife of the former president, recently claimed that the former first family had nowhere to live after their official residence was burned down on 14 February. The government and other critics have questioned this claim.

Mohammed and another colleague, Duke Tagoe, had therefore gone to find proof that Rawlings and his family could not be homeless since they own private houses.

On 13 July, one of the abductors said he detained Mohammed as a concerned citizen but did not know that he was a journalist. He said as a loyal supporter of the former president, he feared Mohammed who was holding a bag could be hiding a weapon with the aim of destroying the mansion.

The Media Foundation for West Africa considers the abduction an example of intolerance. The organisation calls on the police to carry out a thorough and independent investigation of this crime and bring the perpetrator(s) to justice in the most exemplary manner.

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