Yesterday, July 1, 2015, I was assaulted by 3 Ghanaian immigration officers at the border with Togo in Lome, called Aflao.
They attacked me because I refused to give bribe, and also asked questions about what the money was for.
I arrived at the Ghanaian border, at 6:15 am. Two officers sitting at the entrance asked for my id card. I provided one valid card issued by the government of Togo. Then they asked about my international vaccination papers. I said, I did not carry them.
One of the officer asked me to go back to Togo or pay a fine. She said the fine was 1000frs CFA ($1,85). I paid the fine. She cashed the money into her pocket and did not give me any receipt.
I was then up to enter Ghana territory when 3 officers sitting around asked me to go into a small room, where some other officers inside asked me to give 2000frs CFA ($3.50). I plainly replied I don’t have money to give, and get out.
Once outside, one of the 3 officers around, got up and asked me to follow him. I asked to where. He pointed to some place in the open space. I then asked why. He got irritated and grabbed me by the pant and pulled.
He brought me to a small cell where he started assaulting me and pushed me into a junkyard made of iron bars, dirt, garbage.
I felt into the junkyard and got wounded on both arms, while my head hit something.
He then locked me in the room and went away. I started knocking the door to get freed. He came back with two other officers who carried sticks and some bars threatening to beat me up. I said I’ll go to hospital and they would have to pay the bills. That surprisingly dissuaded them but they all three pushed me again into the junkyard and went away. I got hurt on the back and got few more harm on the skin and on my back.
Once they left the room, I started knocking again the door to be released in order to continue my trip. Two officers came and moved me into a cell with iron bars. They threatened to lock me there for 3 days, and I can die. I started send “SOS” alarm message out.
I spent about one hour in that cell before they released me with no charge.
I put a written statement of the case to the office manager and required a copy to be sure they won’t alter it afterward.
I left the immigration building around 8 am. I was dizzy, highly stressed and they have taken away my medical glasses.
Few blocks away two officers from the immigration services followed me and asked for my statement deposit copy. One grabbed the document. I resisted and required to see the office manager. The officer manager confirmed the request to give my copy back, while the two officers who followed me, was threatening me.
Afterward, I went to Aflao police station, and filed a criminal offense case against the immigration officers who assaulted me. The police officer noticed my body harms and sent me to the hospital. I stayed in the hospital for 3 hours. The doctor wrote a report back to the police.
The police proceeded to formally identify the main aggressor and to charge him.
I followed all due process, and at the end they somehow got scared and started asking me to forgive the main aggressor, because he is young and could lose his job.
The case will go to court.
We love too much Africa to let a network of criminal immigration officers to continue to take our future hostage.
Please help in this fight against corruption. In the next days we will organize some social medias actions and also move the case forward.