(Buea Cameroon)The whereabouts of a Buea-based CMTV Pidgin Newscaster, Samuel Wazizi, is still shrouded in secrecy.
Wazizi was arrested in July and detained at the Muea Police Station. Only his lawyers and the Regional Delegate of Communication were allowed to see him at the time.
Things however changed when the journalist was later transferred from the Muea Police Station to the Regional headquarters of the 21st Motorised Infantry Battalion, instead of the judicial Police.
On August 8, journalists went to visit their detained colleague, but spent the entire day under the rain, waiting for Wazizi to be brought to the Judicial Police Headquarters to no avail.
While there, the journalists were assured that nothing bad will happen to their colleague.
After Wazizi’s transfer to the Motorised Infantry Battalion’s cell, his family, colleagues and lawyers were barred from visiting him.
Barrister Ewule Lyonga, Defence Counsel of Wazizi, complained that he has been denied access to his client.
“I am worried about his wellbeing. I need to know if he is still alive and healthy,” he said.
Barrister Ewule Lyonga, had earlier said the Commissioner at the Muea III Police District refused granting bail to his client because “the arrest was directed from above,”
At the time of his arrest, Wazizi was accused of not collaborating with authorities. Then, the police had claimed that Separatist fighters have set up their camp on Wazizi’s farmland. Wazizi denied the allegations that his farm is hosting Ambazonia Fighters and offered to lead investigators to his farm. But the police turned down the request.
In August, journalists who had been pressing for Wazizi’s release expressed mixed feelings, when they learnt that he was taken to the 21st Motorised Infantry Battalion, BIM.
At the Judicial Police Headquarters, journalists were told that Wazizi’s file had not reached their office. They were assured that after collaborating with the BIM, Wazizi will be sent to the Judicial Police for further investigations.
Months after, no one including his lawyers has been able to see him.
Some journalists, who showed up at the BIM requesting to see their detained colleague, were warned to steer clear or face similar fate.
Colleagues narrated how a military officer, on hearing that Wazizi has been taken to BIM, urged them to “pray that he is still alive. People don’t return when they are taken there,” the officer had stated.
He said the BIM functions like a concentration camp, where suspects are held, tortured for information and later executed.
The Post Newspaper quotes a victim, who was once held at the BIM, but was later released, as saying: “I was told that I was very lucky, and had a wonderful guardian angel. They told me that nobody goes to BIM and lives to tell the story. I was frame-up and taken to the place. What goes on there is horrible,” he remarked.
His colleagues are apprehensive that Wazizi might have been killed since nobody has seen him.
Journalists and well-wishers are now raising funds to launch a search at the various detention centres across the country, hoping to find him in one of them. Several court cases have been held and adjourned because the military has failed provide the accused in court.