About 15 people, several of whom were wearing pro-NPP T-shirts, confronted and assaulted Kobbena while he was covering an event at the party’s offices on January 4, 2024, in the central Cape Coast region, according to newsreports and Kobbena, who spoke to CPJ by phone.
Kobbena told CPJ that he reported the incident to police that same day and provided officers with pictures of three suspects involved in the attack but had not received any updates as of January 26.
Kobbena said that he was confronted by two women dressed in T-shirts branded with a picture of NPP parliamentarian Mavis Hawa Koomson shortly after he arrived at the party’s offices to cover the vetting of candidates to run for parliament in this year’s elections. The women mistook Kobbena for another journalist and accused him of insulting Komsoon during a program on the privately owned broadcaster UTV, according to Kobbena and Sorkpor Kafui Kofi Justice, a regional correspondent with the privately owned broadcaster Adom TV, who witnessed the incident and spoke with CPJ.
Kobbena protested that he did not work for UTV, had not appeared on the program, and showed the women a press card showing that he worked for Cape FM. Although the women walked away, a man approached Kobbena with the same accusation, and the journalist said a crowd of NPP supporters quickly gathered around him and started assaulting him.
They slapped and punched him in the face and all over his body, according to the two journalists. Kobbena, who said some of the attackers were also wearing Koomson-branded T-shirts, was rescued by other journalists who pulled him away from the assailants. Kobbena said he suffered cuts on his lips, pain in his back and ribs, as well as a headache, adding that he was treated for his injuries and takes pain medication.
Justice said he reported the incident to the NPP central regional organizer, Anthony Kwesi Sackey. Contacted by CPJ, Sackey accused Kobbena of lying, saying that the journalist had earlier reported to Sackey that he had been attacked by two people and not 15. Sackey said that he gave Kobbena money for treatment and said that the NPP condemns attacks on the press.
Kobbena confirmed that Sackey gave him 1,400 cedis (US$115.73) for his treatment but said that the money was insufficient to cover the cost.