Members of an opposition political party in Ghana have been accused of kidnapping and beating Jerry Azanduna, a journalist working for the Ghana News Agency (GNA).The group of attackers are linked to the Ghanaian opposition politician, Hassan Ayariga of the All Peoples Congress party.
Jerry Azanduna says he received a phone call earlier that day from a group that identified themselves as “concerned youth in Bawku,” requesting him to attend a press conference where Ayariga was scheduled to speak.
The journalist said when he arrived at the location of the supposed press conference in Bawku, he was told by the group of men that the location had changed, and they asked him to join them in their car to go to the new venue. On entering the car, the men instead drove the journalist to the house of Ayariga, an opposition politician he had published a recent report about through the Ghana News Agency.
Azanduna alleges that Ayariga chastised and intimidated him for his reporting, complaining that the story the journalist published about him caused him enormous embarrassment.
He said Ayariga instructed the men who had kidnapped him to teach him a lesson. The men beat the journalist and seized his phone, a USB flash drive, and a wallet.
“I sustained injuries on my left arm and my right shoulder was dislocated. My ribs were hurt. My neck and my eyes were all sore,” he said.
Ayariga denies any involvement with the attack on the journalist, but said APC party members did bring Azanduna to his house on August 27.
“When I saw him in my house, I was very angry because I didn’t invite him to my house, and at the time I saw him nobody had beaten him. He was sitting on the floor,” he said.
Ayariga conceded that he did question Azanduna at his house about his stories, one of which, he said, was inaccurate and should be retracted.
“The party members and Azanduna may have fought before arriving at my house, and it is possible that he was beaten after he was taken away by soldiers, who were at my house when he was brought,” he said.
Eric Amoh of the Ghana Journalist Association reported that the journalist was rescued by Ghanaian security officers after receiving a tip about his kidnapping. The journalist was taken to the Bawku police station, where he filed a report before being taken to a hospital.
Chief Superintendent of the Bawku Divisional Police, Yao Tettegah confirmed that the police did receive a report from Azanduna regarding the attack and investigation is ongoing.
“The police are trying to identify the attackers,” he said.