Over six months after his arrest, the whereabouts of Buea based journalist, Samuel Ajiekah Abuwe alias Samuel Wazizi is yet to be known. This is despite pressure from journalists and human rights bodies.
In a recent release, the Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, (CHRDA) has criticised the situation, stating that “freedom of expression is worsening in Cameroon as many journalists are illegally arrested and tagged with acts of terrorism.”
Held incommunicado since his arrest in August 2019, Samuel’s “marred litigation process has also been going on at the Fako High Court of Law in Buea without his physical appearance (trial in absentia)” CHRDA states.
“CHRDA expresses with great dissatisfaction the treatment given to journalists in particular and the way freedom of expression/opinion is suppressed in Cameroon. We reiterate and remind the Cameroon government of its obligation to uphold and respect national and international norms protecting freedom of expression and the rights of journalists” the release reads.
Concerned about the pressman’s living and health conditions, “CHRDA urges the Cameroon government authorities to show prove of Samuel Ajiekah Abuwe’s existence.”
The NGO also requests “that he should be granted access to his lawyers, family and loved ones immediately. The Government authorities should also release all journalist and human rights defenders illegally arrested and detained in detention centres around the country.”
“Both parties to the conflict in the English Speaking Regions of the country should exercise restraint and cease from violating human rights and the rule of law” it adds.
In May 2019, CHRDA revealed that “since the escalation of the Anglophone crisis and the violent repressed by the Cameroon government authorities in 2016, a recorded total of 206 (two hundred and six) villages both in the North West and the South West Regions of Cameroon have been raided and partially or severely burnt down by state defence forces in an attempt to crack down on armed separatists.”
Thousands of deaths are also reported to have happened, with government and separatist fighters often playing the blame game.