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Angola police deny Ghana claims

LUANDA, January 23- Angolan police dismissed out of hand an accusation of intimidation made by the Ghana team ahead of Sunday's Africa Cup of Nations' quarter-final with hosts Angola.Ghana complained on Friday of "disgraceful intimidatory" tactics deployed by Angolan security forces designed they claimed to destabilise them ahead of the last eight face off with Angola.

The declaration by the Ghana Football Association (GFA) followed what was described as a "brutal" attack on a Ghana journalist at the team hotel in Luanda.

GFA spokesman Randy Abbey condemned the attack and another reported assault on a fan last Tuesday as well as other incidents which have injected a distinct note of bad blood ahead of Sunday’s match.

Abbey confirmed an official complaint had been delivered to organisers CAF citing "the harassment and intimidation tactics that the Angolans are deploying".

"We’ve compiled all these and lodged a formal complaint with CAF – then this issue (the attack on the journalist) took place," he told a press conference at the team hotel in Luanda on Friday morning.

"Football has come of age – these incidents shouldn’t occur in 2010, perhaps in the 80s it would be understandable.

"This is disgraceful; we’re just hoping that things will improve.

"But if it’s because they (Angola) are dreading the possibility of elimination, then they better come again because we intend to defeat them and they can assault us however much they like."

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Angolan police later rejected Ghana’s claims.

"The Ghana team like all the other teams competing in the Africa Cup of Nations are welcome in Angola.

"There is no question of any intimidatory tactics being used," an incredulous Jorge Bengue, spokesman for the Angolan police, told AFP late on Friday.

Ghana made their claims after Ghana reporter, Fiifi Tackie, working for private radio station Radio Gold, was apparently set upon by police and security officials after being refused access to a press conference.

One witness, Ghana journalist Franck Abdai, told AFP: "The reporter was denied permission to attend the press conference, and was surrounded by security officers and police and beaten up.

"He was arrested but later released."

Ghana radio station Peace FM reported on its website: "The journalist was brutally attacked."

This account was however challenged by Bengue, who said: "This morning at Ghana’s team hotel a Ghana journalist tried to get into the press conference without accreditation.

"Security were on hand and after around five or ten minutes he was allowed to go in. There was no major incident."

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Before this altercation the GFA had already written to organisers CAF to complain after a fan was attacked by police at Tuesday’s game against Burkina Faso.

Abbey listed other examples of what the GFA claimed were heavy-handed police tactics since their arrival in the Angolan cappital.

"We have issues with the Angolan Police – they’ve set-up a 24 hour surveillance unit transmitting live from our hotel with the use of an OB (Outside Broadcast) van.

"When we protested, they presented a different story and even went to the extent of accusing us of assaulting their policemen.

"We find that very unfortunate.

"The other issue has to do with Obour (the Ghana suppporter).

"He was beaten up and his private organ allegedly pulled…As I speak to you now, his medical bill is about 900 dollars.

"There have been a couple of occasions where security personnel detailed to provide us protection at training grounds, are found to be either asleep or loitering about, whiles the team is on a bus waiting for them…sometimes for more than 40mins."

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