Journalist Tah Mai Javis and Cameraman Tebong Christain, staff working at My Media Prime TV in Douala have been released from detention.
The two were among over six media workers arrested and detained by Cameroon’s forces of law and order on Tuesday 22nd September 2020 while covering nationwide protests championed by the Cameroon Renaissance Movement, CRM.
The media workers were freed Wednesday 23rd September after over 24 hours in incommunicado detention.
Arrested in Bonaberi, Douala 4 Subdivision in the Littoral Region, the media workers were taken to the Mboppi Gendemerie Brigade at Douala 1.
Tah says “…a gendarme poured alcohol on me forcing me to drink something in a bottle. To the gendarme, that was achohol. I resisted telling him that I don’t drink alchohol. Furious that I was disobeying his orders, he took a pair of scissors and began shaving my hair haphazardly.Then another gendarme crashed my head on the floor brutalizing me at all levels.”
Earlier, the security forces tried to attribute a whistle to him, while insisting the media men were part of those who protested demanding for the resignation of president Paul Biya.
“I was interrogated for a few minutes where I explained that we were out to cover the protest as our profession demands. To them, I did not have authorization from the government for the coverage. But I stated that as a journalist, I don’t need an authorization to cover a street protest”.
To the journalist, all their phones, cameras and other recording gadgets where seized before they were transferred to Brigade Maritime at the Port of Douala.
“Here, we were just abandoned, without food, and water. We had no attention, though there was no physical torture as was the experience at the Mboppi Gendarmerie Brigade,” Tah says.
The journalist says they were released on instructions of the Army Colonel in charge.
To Tah Javis, the forces of law and order were doing their job to maintain peace and order in Cameroon but they should understand, while doing so, that the rights of journalists should not be violated because they report without taking sides.
Tah Javis is noted as a journalist that has been undertaking daring journalistic assignments, especially in the wartorn Anglophone regions of Cameroon and reporting with all objectivity.
By MBATHO NTAN.