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Journalist assaulted by army officer in front of other soldiers

(MFWA/IFEX) - Fana Soumah, a television newscaster with the state-owned Guinean Broadcasting Corporation (RTG) was assaulted by a national army officer on October 29, 2009.

Soumah was reportedly slapped and insulted by the officer on his way to present the 1:00 p.m. news at the station.

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)'s correspondent reported that the incident occurred in Koloma, a suburb of northeastern Conakry, Guinea's capital, after the officer allegedly blocked the journalist's car and refused to let him pass.

According to Soumah, when he tried to find out why his car was blocked he was confronted by the officer, who responded: "You bastard of a journalist, if you are in hurry, go hang." The officer then got out of his car to slap Soumah. According to the journalist, the officer forcibly pulled him out his car and manhandled him in the presence of other soldiers.

"Afterwards, he got back into his car and was still insulting me, calling me a bastard, a dog and saying that I could press charges wherever I care to go, he could not care less," said Soumah.

Meanwhile, two correspondents from Radio France International (RFI) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) who endured persistent harassment and threats from the military in the wake of the country's political crisis, have relocated to neighbouring Dakar, capital of Senegal, together with their families. One soldier reportedly told the journalists: "We have been monitoring your reports on this morning's events. You are dead meat, you and your families."

MFWA is deeply concerned about the impunity with which military officers have been harassing citizens, particularly journalists, in Guinea. MFWA urges Captain Musa Dadis Camara to bring his colleagues to order and ensure that journalists be allowed to go about their legitimate duties without fear.

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