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Kenyan prison guards shoot cameraman, attack crew

NTV cameraman James Ng'ang'a displays his camera, ruined by a bullet fired by a prison guard in Eldoret. (Nation)
New York, August 9, 2011--Prison officials in western Kenya attacked three journalists working for the private broadcaster Nation Television (NTV) as they were covering an escape attempt by six inmates on Sunday, local journalists told CPJ.

A guard from Eldoret GK Prison shot at cameraman James Ng'ang'a, destroying his camera equipment and injuring two of his fingers, the reporter told CPJ. He had been filming prison guards beating his colleagues, NTV reporters Jared Nyataya and Barnabas Bii, who were covering attempts to recapture the escaped inmates who had hidden in a nearby church, he said.

The prison guards attacked the NTV crew despite receiving orders from a senior prison officer to allow the journalists to carry out their work, local reports said. Prison Commissioner Isaiah Osugo told NTV on Monday that the incident was being investigated.

"James Ng'ang'a could have lost his life over the violent and totally unjustifiable actions of the prison officials," said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. "This should be investigated and prison officials should be prosecuted if there is illegal conduct."

Ng'ang'a went to Eldoret Hospital to get medical treatment for his hand and filed a police report at Eldoret Police Station, he said. "I just noticed my camera wasn't working and then looked down to see my fingers were bleeding after the bullet shattered my camera."

In June, four state employees working for Wajir District Hospital in eastern Kenya attacked Wajir Community Radio journalist Abdi Hassan Hussein for interviewing patients who complained of poor treatment at the facility. 

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