Police in Ghana accused of using fan belts and horsewhips on journalist during Covid-19 lockdown
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Pretoria - Since the two-week lockdown commenced on Monday in Ghana there have been several reports of assaults on civilians by police officers, GhanaWeb reported on Wednesday.
However, GhanaWeb said the Ghana Armed Forces has dissociated itself from such brutalities.
In a statement by the director of public relations, colonel Eric Aggrey-Quashie, he said that videos circulating on social media depicting such acts are doctored and re-cycled videos of past events – some of which did not even originate in Ghana.
In a video that has gone viral, police officials are seen enforcing the lockdown at Trabuom near Kumasi.
In a one-minute video, a police officer is seen kicking a man and hitting him with a cane. The man is seen struggling to get away while the officer is gripping him by the neck. A couple of residents try to help the man get away, but another officer comes running too and they subdue the man.
In a separate incident, a man who was reported to be the district chief executive (DCE) for Afigya Kwabre South in the Ashanti Region, Adu Poku Christian and a journalist, are seen clashing with police officers.
GhanaWeb reported that the two were whipped with vehicle fan belts and horsewhips, while the journalist had his camera taken by the enraged officers.
According to an eyewitness, the men were moving from one checkpoint to the other distributing nose masks, sanitisers and water but on reaching Trabuom Atimatim a confrontation ensued between the head of the police team and the DCE.
“A pickup vehicle was overloaded with some of the security men without recourse to the social distancing protocols. When the DCE sought to find out why and if he could be of help, the commander became angry and violent. He started beating up the DCE and was joined by his subordinates.
"I had to flee for my life," the witness was quoted saying.
The publication said that only essential movements are tolerated, such as going out for food, water, medicine, banking transactions, or public toilet facilities.
But, as much as possible, people are advised to stay at home.
Meanwhile in South Africa, the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) has denounced all forms of brutality, by either police or civilians, as numerous reports of conflict between communities and law enforcement officials over the enforcement of lockdown regulations have begun to emerge.
This comes after reports that the independent police investigative directorate (Ipid) was probing the murders of the civilians, allegedly as a result of police action.
There have also been a reported 21 complaints lodged with Ipid in relation to police conduct in the first days of the lockdown.