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Journalist brutally beaten by police while seeking entry to event

(MRA/IFEX) - On 31 March 2008, Mr. David Amusa, correspondent of the independent daily "National Mirror" in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, in the Niger-delta area, was severely beaten by a detachment of about 20 policemen while on assignment to cover the announcement of a local council election conducted on 29 March.

Amusa was among several journalists invited by the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC) to its secretariat to cover the announcement of the result of local council elections.

In response to the RSIEC invitation, Amusa went to the offices of its secretariat, located on Abba Road, but he was accosted at the gate to the secretariat by a policeman who tried to prevent him from entering the premises. He had presented his identity card to an official of RSIEC who cleared him to enter the premises, but the policeman insisted that he should not enter. While trying to explain to the policemen why he should be allowed to pass, other policemen who were initially watching from a distance came and pounced on him, beating him all over his body with their batons and the butts of their guns.

Lawson Heyford, chairman of the Correspondent Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Rivers State, and other journalists rushed to the scene to rescue Amusa, who had begun bleeding profusely and gasping for breath.

Amusa was taken to a hospital in Port Harcourt where he was admitted for treatment.

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