For many a Cameroonian journalist, an encounter with security officers is tantamount to a death sentence.
The announcement of the death of pressman Samuel Wazizi exactly a year ago, confirmed the fear. Till date, his corpse is yet to be seen. On June 2, 2020, Equinoxe TV announced that he had died in custody after being held by security forces for several months.
Wazizi, like every pressman had been reporting when he was arrested and accused of being a logistics manager for separatist fighters, and never lived to see ‘sunlight’. There were fears he was tortured and eventually died from the pains.
Wazizi, according to Reporters Without Borders, was “accused of speaking critically on the air about the authorities and their handling of the crisis”.
The suspicion was enforced by the reluctance of government to release the corpse. Describing the journalist’s death in detention as the worst crime against pressmen in the country in he last ten years, Doctors Without Borders said it was time for “Cameroonian authorities to end the intolerable silence around this case, to return the journalist’s body to his family, and to conduct a thorough, independent investigation to establish the chain of responsibility and circumstances leading to this tragedy”.
According to the army, however, Wazizi died on August 17, 2019 “as a result of severe sepsis”.
“300 days. A family was looking for their son. Loved ones were searching for him. 300 days. 300 days where his lawyers could not see him. 300 days where he did not show up for court. 300 days hope was kept alive. 300 days. They had already killed him,” politician Kah Walla lamented.
Despite many other cries of despair and calls for action, government remains silent over the killing.