POLICE ARREST JOURNALIST SAMUEL WAZIZI IN BUEA
Samuel Wazizi alias Halla Ya Matter, the presenter of Pidgin News on the Buea-based CMTV is under police custody in connection with the ongoing socio-political situation in Cameroon's North West and South West Regions, Cameroon-info.net has learnt.
"Wazizi has been under police detention for a couple of days now. Information reaching us says he was picked up in connection with the Anglophone armed conflicts by elements of the Muea Police Station," journalist Mua Paul Kum said in a post on Facebook Monday, August 5, 2019.
Mua adds that many media outfits have called for the unconditional release of the detained journalist, asserting that the practice of journalism in Cameroon should not be considered a crime.
A journalist familiar with the situation said Wazizi was being investigated for allegedly collaborating with armed separatists otherwise referred to as 'Amba boys'.
The Buea-based journalist, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal said: "I just got about it last night and Wazizi has been in custody for close to a week now. Family members say the Police are saying that he is under investigation for collaborating with amba. His camera was seized and other work tools."
Former Manager of CMTV, Tah Mai Javis in a facebook post said: "He [Wazizi] is one of the best, most animative Pidgin newscasters in the South West Region of Cameroon. Arrested and still in detention. He is Samuel Wazizi aka Hala Ya matta. When I was the station manager of CMTV, I worked with him. I used to produce the program. Today he is behind the wires. I don't know what took him there as of now but let's pray for him for God to see him through."
It is not known if Samuel Wazizi is being held under Cameroon's anti-terror act, which allows authorities to hold detainees indefinitely without charge.
The Committee to Protect Journalists says Cameroon is the third worst jailer of journalists in Africa, after Egypt and Eritrea, with at least seven journalists behind bars for their work on December 1, 2018, according to CPJ's annual prison census. It is the second-worst jailer of journalists on false news charges in the world, after Egypt, according to the census.
"Cameroonian authorities should stop trying to intimidate and censor journalists who have a duty to keep citizens informed about the political and economic situation," said Angela Quintal, CPJ's Africa program coordinator, in New York back in January 2019 after some journalists were arrested.
It has remained increasingly difficult for journalists to cover events around the crisis rocking Cameroon's North West and South West Regions. Security forces have arrested several journalists in the course of the crisis, with separatists kidnapping others.