Arrested and detained incommunicado for over 300 days in connection with the escalating Anglophone crisis in the North West and South West regions, Samuel Ajekah Abuwe popularly called Wazizi A.K.A “Halla ya matter” as he was popularly known, has now been pronounced dead.
He was picked up by forces of law and order of the 3rd police district in Muea after having been investigated for alleged collaboration with separatist fighters. He was accused of giving out his farmland for the separatists to settle on amongst others allegations.
Now pronounced dead, Wazizi for close to one year in detention had not been tried even once in court. Countless efforts made by his lawyers and journalists in the country and abroad to at least see he was doing okay remained futile and yielded no fruits.
Press freedom in the Biya regime for a long time now has always been a matter of “say it and damn the consequences”. The freedom to express opinion is quite there, what happens to you after you have spoken is where the real problem is. Let’s look at some of arrests on journalists by the regime; Ahmed Abba, Radio France International Correspondent was arrested in Maroua in 2015 after covering the activities of the terrorist group Boko Haram.
After Abba’s arrest, he was held incommunicado for close to three months while being severely tortured by the intelligence services. A military court sentenced him to ten years in prison on charges of failing to report acts of terrorism to the authorities and laundering the proceeds of an act of terrorism.
Martinez Zogo, Editor in chief at the Radio Amplitude FM, was arrested right at his post of duty in 2017. The authorities charged him with defamation following the complaints filed by Sylvie Biye Essono, who was the ex-wife of a then government official. She complained of Zogo haven spread false information about her. She said the journalist had falsely accused her of using her husband’s name in applying for government contracts. Zogo was later transferred to the Yaounde Kondengui prison.
Atia Tilarious and Amos Fofung, two prominent journalists of the print media were equally arrested in connection to the ongoing Anglophone crisis in the North West and South West. They were arrested by the elements of the third police district in Molyko-Buea in connection with a bag that contained anti-11th February tracks.
In 2011, a Newspaper editor Raphael Nkamtcheun was detained for receiving allegedly confidential government documents from the former finance minister Polycarp Abah Abah when he visited the latter in Yaounde. Same year, editor of Cameroun Express Ngota Ngota Germain died in the Yaounde Kondengui central prison. The list is quite long and inexhaustible. It is by no means a coincidence that Cameroon is one of the worst countries when it comes to press freedom.
Media practitioners in Cameroon has always lived in absolute dread of the next thing that might happen to them should they exercise their full rights to freedom of expression. Journalists who attempt this are either sent to jail, killed or exiled.
Mimi Mefo Info