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Pastors assault radio journalists, vandalise station

(MFWA/IFEX) - Three pastors, including the self-styled and controversial Reverend Bishop Daniel Obinim, were on August 9, 2011, granted bail by an Accra Circuit court after they allegedly assaulted three journalists and a panelist on an Accra-based radio station, Hot FM on the night of August 8.

The angry pastors violently stormed the premises and vandalized the studio to register their displeasure about "Nya Asem Hwe", a local language current affairs programme.

The victims, Barima Ntim Katakyie, the programme host, Shadrack Adu and George Kumi, producers, and Reverend Amoako, a panelist, have since been treated and discharged from hospital.

Obinim, the 33-year old founder of the International God's Way Church, and two of his pastors, Kofi Akweitey and Kingsley Baah, are facing three counts of conspiracy to commit a crime, causing harm, and causing damage to private property.

The pastors had angrily stormed the studios of Hot FM to protest their exclusion from the programme, which discussed an alleged sex scandal involving Obinim and another pastor's wife. The station played a tape recording purported to have implicated the founder in the scandal.

"They attacked the host and other staff members with a pinch bar and other weapons inflicting injuries on their bodies," the prosecutor said.

Meanwhile, Francis Hinakwah, a reporter with the Tema-based radio station Adom FM, was on August 9, violently assaulted by a group of church members at the Tema branch of the International God's Way Church. Hinakwah had gone to the church premises following the arrest of their leader and three others.

According to the reporter, the angry church members tore his shirt, confiscated his recorder and identity card. A taxi cab attempting to transport the journalist to safety was hit with metallic objects, destroying one of the side mirrors.

Hinakwah's ID card was later returned to him after Tema Regional Police Command intervened.

The reporter told Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) that the church members accused him and the radio station of trying to close down their church.

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