CAMEROON. The United States Embassy in Cameroon support Samuel Wazizi’s Lawyers to seek Justice for his death. In a letter addressed to the deceased journalist’s lawyers, Barrister Nkea Emmanuel and Barrister Lyonga Ewule, and the US Ambassador to Cameroon, Henry Peter Barlerin say their country is closely following President Paul Biya’s commitment to the French ambassador to order a thorough investigation to shed light on what led to Samuel Wazizi’s death. Given that the Lawyers allegedly received anonymous threats as a result of seeking justice for their client, Henry Peter Barlerin says he has asked the embassy’s political officers to engage with the lawyers.
Who is Samuel Wazizi:
Samuel Wazizi whose real name is Samuel Ajieka Abuwe was a journalist, working in a local TV station in Buea in the South West Region of Cameroon. He was arrested in August 2019, in connection with the socio-political crisis rocking the two English speaking regions of the country. According to his lawyers, his whereabouts were unknown to everyone when the news of his death broke. The news about Wazizi’s death was first aired on a private television channel, Equinox TV, and was later confirmed by findings from the President of the Union of Journalists in Cameroon. This led to a series of denunciations and protests by journalists and human rights activists who were demanding clarification from the government of Cameroon.
The response from the Ministry of Defense:
On 5 June 2020, Cameroon’s Ministry of Defense declared in a press release that Samuel Wazizi died on 13 August 2019, from severe sepsis infection, not from torture as it was reported. The release also stated that the deceased journalist had been in constant communication with his family members and lawyers. Statements that have to date been denied by the lawyers.
The way forward:
The French Ambassador, Christophe Guizhou, at the end of an audience with President Paul Biya on 5 June 2020, told the media that Paul Biya had assured him that an investigation will be opened into Wazizi’s death. As of now, Cameroonians are patiently waiting for the investigation commission to be put in place and for justice to be served.