Journalist detained for four days in Cameroon, accused of espionage

Simon Ateba, a freelance Cameroonian journalist, was arrested at the Minawao refugee camp in the far north of Cameroon at around noon on August 28, 2015, according to news reports.

Ateba has been based in Nigeria for more than a decade. He received a grant from the Abuja-based International Centre for Investigative Reporting to report on the condition of Nigerians in refugee camps in Cameroon and Chad. He had gone to the camp to investigate the conditions of Nigerians who had fled into Cameroon after their communities had been attacked by the extremist group Boko Haram, news reports said.

Ateba said he had been told he would be taken to the capital city of Yaoundé, and handed over to the secret police to be tried for espionage, news reports said. The journalist said he was accused of spying on behalf of Boko Haram, according to his Facebook page after his release and news reports.

Nigerian and Cameroonian media groups condemned Ateba’s detention, according to news reports.

Ateba was held by Cameroonian officials for four days before being released. The journalist said officials had seized his passport and cellphone, but that both had been returned to him upon his release.