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Journalists punched, barred from independence ceremony

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 2 October 2007, Ibrahima N'diaye, a journalist of the privately-owned Nostalgie FM radio station, was clubbed and punched together with other journalists by Red Berets of the Presidential Security Battalion of Guinea.

The Red Berets also prevented them from covering the event.

A Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) correspondent reported that the journalists were supposed to cover a ceremony being held at the National Communications Council (CNC) hall to celebrate Guinea's 50th Independence anniversary, when they had an encounter with the gun-wielding red berets.

The correspondent said Captain Soumah, one of the officers, chased and jostled the journalists on the stairs of the CNC offices, saying "You journalists, if you don't leave, we shall massacre you. We don't need you here. Get out of here. Throw all the journalists out."

When Jérôme Dramou, President of the National Communications Council, came out to intervene on behalf of the journalists, he was insulted and jostled by the soldiers who also blocked his way when he attempted returning to the hall. "You will no longer go in there. Get out President. President of what? I don't give a damn," a nervous gun-wielding soldier was quoted as saying.

The correspondent said despite instructions from Prime Minster Lansana Kouyaté that all 40 journalists should be allowed into the hall, the soldiers allowed only six to enter.

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