The Cameroon government has finally responded to intense pressure on the whereabouts of Buea based journalist Samuel Wazizi.
Yesterday, South West Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai washed his hands clean asking journalists to turn to Yaounde for answers. With local and international pressure building, government has finally provided a response.
During the 1 PM newscast on state radio today, a release addressing the issue was read. Signed by the communication unit of the Ministry of defense, it revealed that Wazizi died on August 17th 2019, but claims he was not tortured.
Accusing the late journalist of being an informant for separatist groups in the South West Region, the release said Wazizi died at the Yaounde military hospital after suffering severe sepsis.
“He died of a severe sepsis and not from torture” it read. Even during his time in hospital, government says “he stayed in contact with his family in Buea… Even on his sick bed, he had regular exchanges with his loved ones”.
Upon his death, government says Wazizi’s family was informed but failed to show up.
Government’s response has however raised more worries. Many are taking to social media to question why the state had to wait for so much pressure to be exerted before it produce a response. “He died of an illness since August according, then whose case have they been postponing? Until they are rejecting a habeas Corpus” one social media user writes.
Another social media user says the “lie” doesn’t even make sense.
“The same family that has been filling documents to see Wazizi, you now claim refused to take his corps. He was dead since but u were busy judging his case and pretending he is in detention. If he died of illness, it’s as a result of the torture he received. One day all this will end” he writes.
“… did the government informed the media for which Wazizi was working? Did they inform his lawyer? Was there any public announcement?” Asks yet another.
As the worries keep piling, journalists across the country await orders from the leaders of their respective journalism associations as the campaign for justice for Wazizi continues.
Others say now is time to advocate for other jailed men of the press before Wazizi’s fate befall them. Many other journalists including Paul Chouta, Wawa Jackson and Awah Thomas are still being held behind bars and in terrible conditions.
Mimi Mefo Info