The Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ has for the past year now been one of several groups at the forefront of the campaign for the release of pressman, Mancho Bibixy. The broadcaster for private radio station, Abakwa FM in Bamenda, was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment on charges of terrorism, secession, hostility to the fatherland, spreading false information, revolution, insurrection, rebellion, and contempt for civil servants.
According to the CPJ, Bixby had been repeatedly summoned by authorities and briefly detained in the weeks leading up to his January 17, 2017, arrest, “including by the security police and police intelligence in Bamenda, as well as the regional representative of the communication ministry, the person familiar with his case told CPJ” it stated.
One of Bibixy’s most remarkable actions was in a protest on November 21, 2016, where he stood in an open coffin in Bamenda and denounced the slow rate of economic development in the town.
Following his arrest, the Cameroon Journalists’ Trade Union wrote to President Paul Biya in May 2018 asking for Bibixy and Awah Junior(another detained journalist ) to be pardoned.
Issa Tchiroma Bakary, then communication minister and government spokesman, the CPJ notes “did not answer repeated calls for comment, nor did he respond to several text and WhatsApp messages, as well as an email to his personal assistant seeking reaction”.
The CPJ and other advocacy groups have continually called for justice for not only Mancho but several journalists arbitrarily arrested, jailed and mostly tortured in detention centres across Cameroon.
Cameroon it should be recalled was recently named Sub Saharan Africa’s second worst jailer of pressmen, second to Eritrea alone.