Growing Fears That Journalist Samuel Wazizi Is Eliminated As Court Repeatedly Fails To Produce Him For Legal Proceedings [ARREYB]
The court case of Pidgin Newscaster Samuel Wazizi, detained since August 2019, has been adjourned to the November 5th 2019.
Lawyers defending the Buea based journalist filed a habeas corpus application and were reliably informed that the client will be in court today.
Still, Wazizi was not brought to court in today’s session. So far, the 21st Motorised Infantry Battalion of South West jurisdiction has failed to produce him for legal proceedings.
He was hijacked from the Muea Police Station after his arrest in August 2019, at a time the Chief of South West Judicial Police was said to be waiting for him to be transfered to his service.
There are high fears that Wazizi has been under severe torture since the Infantry Battalion is said to, by law, have no investigative character, neither any detention centres, but a repressive setting.
These fears even amount to his having been eliminated.
His lawyers say they don’t believe the information that their client is still detained in Buea, probably he has been carried to the dangerous SED prison in Yaounde.
Popularly called “Hala Ya Matta”, Samuel Wazizi is a pidgin news reporter with Chillen Music and Television (CMTV)
Wazizi is in custody because the separatist group, Ambazonia fighters set up a camp in his farm.
Besides, Wazizi is also accused of spreading information from separatists Ambazonia fighters to threaten the population.
Though he denied all the allegations against him the moment of how arrest, the police commissioner said he could not grant him bail because the administration of South west “was on the case closely”.
Journalism in Cameroon remains a hideous task as media workers become victims of harassment for their reports. Those who choose to remain in the Anglophone regions increasingly prefer to report on non-controversial issues like health, education and infrastructure and avoid discussing the ongoing conflict.
The Anglophone crisis which began as protest over marginalisation claims voiced by lawyers and teachers soon transformed into an armed conflict when dialogue wasn’t forth coming.
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A journalist like Paul Chouta remains in jail for his critical online reporting. Another journalist Raymond Ndingana who recently granted an interview to Deutsche Welle recounted :
“The last time I fell into the hands of the military, they almost destroyed my working tools simply because they asked me a question in French and I responded in English. They got angry and called me all sorts of names.”
With many journalists now scared of reporting, there are fears that the most critical stories in Anglophone regions will go unreported.
According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), Cameroonian authorities have regularly tortured and held incommunicado detainees arrested in the government’s crackdown on the armed separatist movement.