Absent In The Dock: Where Is Cameroonian Journalist Samuel Wazizi?
Since last year, no word has been heard about Cameroonian Journalist Samuel Wazizi.
The government in her usual style of silencing journalists, has kept Wazizi after he willingly showed up to be interrogated at the Muea Police station – with no iota of resistance.
There are fears that Samuel Wazizi has been eliminated as the court repeatedly fails to produce him for legal proceedings with no explanations.
Detained since August 2019, his court cases have been adjourned several times and the government has failed to give any explanation, even after his lawyers filed a habeas corpus and were told he would be in court for the following appearance.
There are high fears that Wazizi has been under severe torture by the Infantry Battalion which is said, by law, to have no investigative unit or detention centres. These fears even amount to his having been eliminated. His lawyers and concerned colleagues have been on a man hunt to police stations and prisons, yet no clue.
Samuel Wazizi is an orphan who grew to be the only bread winner of the family he lived with at the time of his arrest.
The pidgin newscaster is either eliminated or he has been secretly moved to the dangerous SED in Yaounde (as his lawyers suggest), where he may be under severe torture.
He was in custody because the separatist group, Ambazonia fighters set up a camp in his farm. Besides, he is also accused of spreading information from separatists Ambazonia fighters to threaten the population.
Despite refusing all allegations levied against him at the moment of his arrest, the police commissioner said he could not grant him bail because the administration of South West “was on the case closely”.
Several court sessions have past and the 21st Motorised Infantry Battalion of South West jurisdiction has failed to produce him for legal proceedings.
He is not the only journalist caught in the government net. Journalists like Paul Chouta, Wawa Jackson and a host of others are still languishing behind bars for their critical reports
With many journalists now scared of reporting, there are fears that the most critical stories in Anglophone regions will go unreported.
In a report we published last year, at least 8 out of every 10 journalists actively reporting on political issues and the Anglophone crisis face threats, torture, harassment and imprisonment for rightly using the media as the fourth estate to check government excesses in Cameroon.
But away from the surroundings of journalism and hard reports against government policies, there’s always a careful way to get a journalist from another side of the coin. The strategy is to silence a journalist through the brutal military even when they get into more social problems not related to their work.
Of course, the best possible response would be for the Cameroon government to stop engaging in practices that trigger the investigative cascade. Journalists won’t stop reporting, either from home or abroad where they go into exile
Government authorities should refuse altogether to do the wrong things and not interfere by allowing journalists to do their job as the fourth estate