As journalist Ernest Obama of Vision 4 television and Anecdote Newspaper spends his first day after regaining freedom, at the National Gendarmerie Headquarters, SED, it is now becoming clear that his arrest was a distraction.
Arrested on Thursday, June 18, 2020, in a dramatic fashion, Ernest Obama was only released yesterday night after the man who asked that he be arrested, Amougou Belinga, wrote to the State Prosecutor.
In fact, Obama was accused of treason, treachery, embezzlement and for interfering in the sovereign affairs of the Central African Republic. That he was arrested by a legion of gendarmes and granted liberty in such an unceremonious manner has sent tongues wagging.
Pundits are of the view that the arrest of Obama was calculated to distract people into thinking that even journalists like him, hitherto thought to be invincible, can also be arrested without a warrant.
Besides the humiliation which left colleagues reacting and others indifferent, that he was suddenly released despite all the heavy charges against him is enough to conclude that it is a Yaoundé game plan.
At a time when President Paul Biya had promised the French ambassador that he was going to order a probe into the demise in military custody of journalist Samuel Wazizi, the Ernest Obama drama must have been crafted to derail popular opinion from the issues of the day.
With no one talking about Wazizi’s murder again, nothing is known what has happened to his corpse. The Ministry of Defense said on June 5 that the corpse was at the Ekounou Military Morgue, but no one has confirmed seeing the stiff.
The Committee to Protect Journalists joined nine other human rights and press freedom groups in a June 9 statement called on the Cameroonian government to allow for an independent probe into the death of journalist Samuel Wazizi.
The statement called for U.N. Security Council members to take advantage of a June 12 meeting with the U.N. Office of Central Africa to urge Cameroonian authorities to allow an independent, effective, thorough, and impartial investigation into the circumstances around the journalist’s death.
Police arrested Wazizi, whose legal name was Samuel Ajiekah Abwue, on August 2, 2019, and transferred him to military custody on August 7, after which he was held incommunicado, according to CPJ research. On June 5, 2020, the Cameroonian military announced that Wazizi had died in government custody in August 2019, as CPJ documented at the time.
In its announcement on June 5, the Cameroonian government alleged that Wazizi had died of “severe sepsis” and denied that he was tortured in custody. Yesterday’s joint statement calls for an investigation into whether Wazizi was tortured or otherwise ill-treated while in custody, and calls for those responsible for any mistreatment to be held accountable.
(C) Mimi Mefo Info