On Thursday, 6 June 2023, a video showing a woman violently swinging a baby upside down during a church service at Balungu, a community in Ghana’s Bongo District, filtered through social media platforms, provoking public rage and clamour for arrests.
Several people said they could not watch the video to the end. Not because they did not have enough data. But because they did not have the heart to bear the sight further at a point.
In fact, Media Without Borders strongly advised caution when the video was embedded in the previous publication as readers and viewers might find the content disturbing.
Not only did a section of the public, after viewing how the live baby was roughly handled like a lifeless object, call for arrests. They also chorused for the place of worship, Jesus Kantanma Yoke Spanner Church, to be closed down.
On Friday, the District Police Command in Bongo arrested the pastor, his wife and the woman who was captured in the footage swinging the baby. The command, after taking the suspects’ caution statements, handed them over to the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) at the Upper East Regional Police Command.
Scores of individuals and some civil society organisations expressed excitement following the arrests. But they also expressed fears the baby might not be in good condition, or survive, after what it was taken through.
The pastor is quoted to have said that the action seen in the video was a normal practice in the church when the Assembly Member for Balungu, Edward Asekere, questioned him after the clip popped up on social media platforms.
Eyewitnesses say the pastor, whose name was mentioned only as Kwabena, did not show any remorse after his arrest.
According to the eyewitnesses, he maintained before the police that it was a normal rite the church often performed with every baby to fortify them against demonic attacks. He reportedly also told the police that the baby being abused in the video was his own child.
The Upper East Regional Police Command confirmed the arrests to Media Without Borders, but the command’s Public Relations Officer, ASP David Fianko-Okyere, as usual of him (whenever he is contacted by the press on any issues) declined to comment on the matter.
Watch the video of the action below if you may. Again, caution is strongly advised.
Source: Edward Adeti/Media Without Borders/mwbonline.org