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Soldiers attack radio journalist, halt protest

(MFWA/IFEX) - Gilles Gbabga, a reporter for Radio Metropolys, a privately-owned FM station, is reported to have been violently assaulted on 15 July 2009 by military personnel in Lome, the capital of Togo.

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)'s correspondent reported that military men from the Field Engineers Regiment of the Togolese Army attacked Gbagba with the shovels and pickaxes they were using to repair a road in front of the French Cultural Centre in Lome. The men also punched, kicked and beat the journalist with their belts.

The correspondent said Gbagba was attacked when he asked a showbiz personality about a dispute between him (the showbiz personality) and the military officers, which had resulted in the breaking of the windscreen of the celebrity's car. The incident attracted a large crowd.

Meanwhile, a protest march organised by the Association of Human Rights Journalists (JDHO) in solidarity with the reporter was thwarted by the officers of the National Gendarmerie. The Gendarmerie prevented the group from presenting a petition to the Minister of Security and Civil Protection, Colonel Atcha Mohammed Titikpina.

The correspondent said the officers ordered the journalists to discontinue their protest threatening that "if you move another five metres, we shall beat you; you have not seen anything yet. . ."

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