Cameroonian security forces are seen near Buea, southwestern Cameroon, on October 7, 2018. CPJ called on authorities to account for arrested journalist Samuel Wazizi. (AFP/Marco Longari)

CPJ demands Cameroonian government account for arrested journalist Samuel Wazizi

New York, June 3, 2020 — Cameroonian authorities must immediately disclose the whereabouts and the health and legal status of imprisoned journalist Samuel Wazizi, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

“Samuel Wazizi’s friends, family, colleagues, and lawyers have unsuccessfully sought answers about his arrest from the Cameroonian government for far too long,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal. “We are extremely disturbed by recent reports of the journalist’s death in government custody, and demand that authorities immediately and publicly account for his status.”

News reports and a tweet by Denis Nkwebo, the president of the Cameroon Trade Union of Journalists, published yesterday and today, allege that Wazizi died at a military hospital at an unspecified date after being tortured by security forces.

The Cameroonian government has not commented on those reports. CPJ called and texted representatives of Cameroon’s Justice Ministry, Communications Ministry, and prime minister’s office for comment, but did not receive any replies.

Wazizi, whose legal name is Samuel Ajiekah Abuwe, was arrested on August 2, 2019, was transferred to military custody on August 7, and has not been seen since, according to CPJ research. Until his arrest, he worked as an anchor for privately owned broadcaster Chillen Muzik and TV.