Mwalimu McMua Kum Paul has narrated in detail an account of his encounter with Wazizi at Muea police four days after his arrest.
He takes time to explain conditions under which the journalist was detained and his possible final moments.
My encounter with Samuel Wazizi at the Muea police station four days after his arrest
It’s a Sunday afternoon August 2019, when the news is broken in a journalists’ association WhatsApp group that Journalist Samuel Wazizi has been arrested and detained at the Muea Police Station. Then discussions unfold and a resolution is taken among the pressmen that a visit to be paid to him to ascertain the cause of his arrest and possibly secure his release. The Journalists in the forum are asked to opt to be part of the visit and I elect to be in among others. It is billed that at 09:00am Tuesday, owing to the volatile nature of Monday in Buea at the time, the battery of journalists would assemble at Mile 17 Bus Station in Buea and then move in communion to the Muea Police Station.
At precisely 08:47am, I alight at the Mile 17 Bus Station and perch in a corner in wait for journalism folks, but the wait gets to be long for at 10:22am you, none of the folks has shown up at the Bus Station. After futilely dialing several contacts, some of which were answered and some not, I take upon myself to move to the police station alone to see Wazizi and establish the circumstances surrounding his arrest, then perhaps also report back to the journalists’ association Whatsapp group. I board a cab and alight in front of the police station to be entertained by heavily girded men in Black, wielding sophisticated lethal weapon, some masked, some unmasked, but all fierce-looking. I approach and send my greetings, then state the reason for my visit and one of the policemen would usher me to the investigator’s office from whom I would obtain permission to have word with Samuel Wazizi from the police cell.
Wazizi is brought near the door of the cell while I stand close to the canter and he can recount the following to me:
“They came on Friday in a pickup, met around an off-licence and told me my attention is needed at the Muea police station. I readily entered the car and they brought me to the cell. They say I own a farm in Musaka, the outskirts of Muea, where there is an Amba camp, and they insist that I must know where the Amba camp and who the Amba boys are. They are trying to drum up charges against me.” At this point, I set in firmly asking him, since I seem not to have enough time, “Do you own a farm at Musaka and do you have any information about separatist fighters.” Wazizi well agrees he owns a farm there but rebuts allegations he has any knowledge of where the Amba camp is and who the separatists are.
Here, my time is up and Wazizi is closed with his mates in the tight cell while I retreat to the investigator to understand the state of affairs. He tells Wazizi is charged with acts of terrorism and, in the corridors of the police station, I gather that he is being linked to an attack just past by separatists on the convoy of an elite of the South West, which happened at Mile 16. I am told he is being indicted for having given information to separatist fighters before the attacks.
While I’m still nosing for news, some folks who have assembled at Mile 17 a few moments after 11:00am ring my number and I opt to meet there and perhaps come back with them for more findings. I have gone and I am back with the battery of journalist who take their turn to talk to Wazizi and then we jointly talk with the investigator and then the soft-spoken commissioner who assures us that in a brief while Wazizi’s file would be processed and transmitted to the South West Judicial Police for legal proceedings. Speaking on behalf of the pressmen, I solicit that if there is a possibility of releasing the journalist on bail, the commissioner should do us the handsome, but he dismisses outright, elucidating that the 2014 terrorism law rids off that chance.
At this juncture, I retreat for other pressing assignments while the other journalists are waiting to have interviews with Wazizi and then reassemble at the Judicial police expectant of the arrival of Wazizi’s case file that never was. The elements of the 21st Motorised Infantry Battalion have stormed the police station and virtually hijacked Wazizi to their base, leaving the Muea Police Commissioner and the Chief of the South West Judicial Police virtually dumbfounded and speechless in the face of a legal proceeding flouted in their very eyes.
The story is even told of a woman who is leaving the premises of the military base, having heard a piercing cry at the rear end of the premises, suggesting Wazizi was being welcomed at the base.
This far, Wazizi’s lawyers, Nkea and Edward Lyonga have filed several Habeas Corpus for the 21st Motorised Infantry Battalion to be produced in court, but they have ended up in futility. So who was afraid of Wazizi appearing in court?
And if Wazizi were so much a terrorist, who was so interested in punctuting the process to prove him as such?
Adieu Samuel Wabuwe aka Samuel Wazizi!!!
Mwalimu McMua Paul
Mimi Mefo Info