Denis Ngu, AmbaNews24, Washington DC USA
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) has demanded that the government of French Cameroun, led by 87 years old dictator Paul Biya render an account and disclose the whereabouts of Samuel Wazizi, an Ambazonian journalist who has been in captivity and detention for over 300 days for undisclosed charges.
In a press statement released on June 3, 2020, a copy of which AmbaNews24 obtained, the CPJ said that the ‘Cameroonian authorities must immediately disclose the whereabouts and the health and legal status of imprisoned journalist Samuel Wazizi’.
The Cameroun government that has a track record of muzzling and arresting journalists has not responded to the request.
The plea for the disclosure of the whereabouts of Samuel Ajiekah Abuwe a.k.a Samuel Wazizi, is coming as multiple news reports in the local media announced that the journalist had died of alleged beatings and severe torture from the hands of military operatives under whose custody he has been held since August 7, 2019 when he was arrested.
‘Samuel Wazizi’s friends, family, colleagues, and lawyers have unsuccessfully sought answers about his arrest from the Camerounian government for far too long’ said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator, Angela Quintal. She added that ‘we are extremely disturbed by recent reports of the journalist’s death in government custody, and we demand that authorities immediately and publicly account for his status’.
The news of the death of Samuel Wazizi was first announced by local TV station Equinox, which reported that the journalist had died in a military clinic in French Cameroun’s city of Douala from critical injuries sustained as a result of extreme torture.
Since the tragic news broke, social media has been riled with all kinds of reactions from colleagues, friends, and Ambazonians in general. Randy Joe Saah, the BBC correspondent in Cameroon in a Facebook Posting called for ‘Justice for Wazizi’, and wrote that Wazizi was ‘arrested, tortured and assassinated’. Denis Nkwebo, the president of the Cameroon Trade Union of Journalist was likewise alarmed by Wazizi’s assassination.
Prior to his arrest, Samuel Wazizi had worked for a local radio station anchoring a very popular news program in pidgin English, a lingua-franca spoken vastly in the Atlantic coast region of Ambazonia now engulfed in the Ambazonia war of independence.
Some Ambazonian critics strongly believe that Wazizi was poisoned as a means of silencing him off the air. Last month, May 2020, the Chairman of Cameroon’s Human Rights Commission Dr. Chemuta Banda died mysteriously under circumstances that were alleged by family members to be poisoning.
Reporters Without Borders has added its voice to the death of Wazizi, requesting the immediate opening of an inquiry into the circumstances under which the journalist died.
The people of Ambazonia see this recent killing as the continuation of the systematic approach by Cameroun to intensify its brutal campaign of occupation and annexation of Ambazonian territory since its forces marched across the Ambazonian border in September 1961 and illegally hoisted Cameroun’s flag. This brutal expansionist campaign in the last 59 years has seen one of the worst blacks on black colonization in the history of the world. In the last four years, French Cameroun forces have killed over 10,000 Ambazonian citizens and burnt and destroyed over 400 towns, villages, and hospitals in Ambazonia. Cameroun uses such brutality as an intimidation tactic to deny the right of 8 million Ambazonian people from fighting for their legitimate aspiration for freedom, independence, and territorial integrity.