Observers

A young Togolese man selling counterfeit tickets at a rap and hip hop concert in Lome suffered a brutal whipping after he was caught by security guards. Our Observer witnessed the beating and filmed it with his mobile phone.

Popular Franco-Moroccan rapper La Fouine was one of the artists invited to participate in the "Moov'in Show" concert in the Togolese capital on August 27, along with Benin hip hop artist Didi Bobo and Togolese singer Amron. The concert was sponsored by "Moov-Togo", one of the country's main mobile phone network providers. Tickets were sold for between 3,000 and 10,000 CFA francs (5-15 euros).

We contacted the Moov-Togo company, which organised the concert. Their comment on the incident will be published as soon as we receive it.

"The punishment was disproportionate […] and is emblematic of the violence in our country"

Lamine lives in Lome, Togo. He witnessed the scene as he arrived at the concert hall.

I didn’t see why the man was detained. My cousins and I heard some shouts and noise in the entrance hall, and went to see what was going on. My cousin took out his cell phone to film the scene. We saw a man on his knees, being savagely beaten. The video shows concert organisers beating him on the back with a sort of whip, and slapping him. Then policemen arrived and continued being rough [at one point slamming him against the wall]. Finally, they handcuffed him and took him away.

It’s not often that international stars perform in Lome, the concert hall was packed full. The guy probably wanted to take advantage of the situation to make some quick and easy money. My cousins and I were shocked, he was treated really violently, as if he had committed a serious crime. The punishment was really disproportionate: he only committed a minor offence, after all. Nobody should take justice into their own hands that way: the organisers should have stopped him and handed him over to the police, filing an official complaint. The images are really emblematic of the rampant violence in our country."