Today marks four years since journalist Samuel Wazizi died in government custody in Cameroon.
On August 17, 2019, while under the custody of the government, Samuel Wazi was murdered.
His corpse has never been seen or released to the family.
Government’s suspicious silence
The government of Cameroon has maintained its silence over the issue despite calls to investigate and bring perpetrators to book.
On this day, four years since the Journalist was reported dead, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) made renewed calls for justice and proper answers to the Wazizi family and the media world.
“On this day 4 years ago, popular Cameroonian news anchor Samuel Wazizi died in government custody. There has been no credible investigation into his death. His family deserves answers,” CPJ Africa said in a report marking the fourth anniversary of Wazizi’s murder.
According to Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa Program Coordinator, “Cameroonian authorities covered up Wazizi’s death for months despite repeated inquiries and court applications from press freedom advocates, his family, colleagues, friends, and lawyers.”
She regrets that “President Paul Biya promised an inquiry, but there has been no transparency or accountability.”
“Four years later, we demand answers. Samuel Wazizi’s family deserves closure, and those responsible for Samuel Wazizi’s death in custody must be held accountable,” she added.
Documented reports from CPJ hold that, Cameroon police detained Samuel Wazizi, whose legal name was Samuel Ajiekha Abuwe, on August 2, 2019, on suspicion of “collaborating with separatists,” His last words to a friend who saw him in custody were, “Don’t let me die in here.”
After police transferred him to military custody on August 7, 2019, CPJ said “Samuel Wazizi’s friends, family, colleagues, and lawyer had no contact with him, nor did they receive any official updates about his case until the military issued a statement 10 months later that claimed he had died on August 17, 2019, from “sepsis.”
Four years later, colleagues are still without closure – no justice and family members have never been able to bury Wazizi.
We at MMI continue to demand justice for a young and talented reporter, whose only crime was to tell the story of the people in a country where the press is routinely being stifled.
Cameroon’s current president, Paul Biya has been in power for over fourty years. The country lacks good roads and good water. Electricity, jobs, health care, and opportunities for youth.
Engaged and independent journalists who report about these are labelled “enemies of the state” and arrested and sent to jail.
Mimi Mefo Info