By Andrew Nsoseka, JADE
In the night of May 7, 2023, armed men killed young journalist, Anye Nde Nsoh. They shot and killed him in a snack bar at Che Street in Bamenda, in Cameroon’s Northwest region. Before his death, Anye was serving as the Northwest Bureau Chief of The Advocate Newspaper. He also worked part-time for several other media organisations, including Dream FM, Kick442.com and others.
So far, information filtering out on events surrounding the killing of the journalist shows that it was a callous act. The position of the bullet on the body of the victim also shows that the shooter intended to just kill him, as he was shot directly in the chest. Eyewitness accounts have so far said there was no direct provocation to have warranted his killing. So far, a separatist leader, popularly known as Capo Daniel, has in a media outing taken responsibility for the act, acknowledging that it was carried out by separatist fighters. He, however, claimed that it was a case of mistaken identity. He claimed that the separatist fighters were after a military officer who had allegedly been drinking at the bar they attacked.
In a public protest in Bemenda, journalists denounced the act, saying the excuse of mistaken identity was flimsy. They said the act was callous and was done with intent to kill even without verifying if the victim was the person the fighters claim they were after.
“Anye Ndeh Nsoh was moonlighting as hype man, a hobby] at a pub near his house. He came in Sunday evening to do his thing [hyping] as usual. But the batteries of the microphone were weak. He decided to go and get a new set. He took along the microphone. While he was out, two gunmen stormed the pub, and identified themselves as separatist fighters [also known as Amba Boys]. The two gunmen ordered all the occupants out of the pub. They also ordered workers out of a bakery attached to the pub at gunpoint. While returning to the bar, Anye bumped into the gunmen who opened fire, shooting him in the chest,” CAMASEJ narrated in a statement. Anye died before he could be taken to the hospital.
The killing of Anye, like several others that have gone unreported, only points out the manner in which several persons are constantly being killed in the Anglophone Regions in relation to the crisis. A mere accusation without any iota of investigation can lead to the outright killing of people trapped in the conflict. Over the years, the belligerents across the board have been condemned for hasty actions, which often only end in the extra-judicial killing of civilians and accused persons.
For journalists, it highlights the danger they are exposed to, in the volatile security environment, which they operate in. Most at times, journalists have been harassed and brutalised, have had their equipment seized, and sometimes even locked up or abducted and detained without any justifiable reason. This has largely contributed to one of the reasons why the Anglophone Crisis remains one of the most underreported crises around the world. Many journalists just shy away from reporting it due to the high stakes that pose a threat to their lives.
On the issue of ensuring the safety of journalists and everyday citizens who easily fall prey and are killed by armed men, the SDO for Mezam, Simon Emile Mooh, said the military is out to ensure the safety and security of all persons. He said he was “enjoining the population to fully and sincerely collaborate with Administrative Authorities, Defence and Security forces to denounce and track down these lawless and heartless individuals”.
He also promised that his office and other competent state institutions have opened investigations into the killing of Anye and that the perpetrators will be made to face justice.
The killing of Anye breached Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says that, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person”.
The preamble of Cameroon’s 1996 Constitution, which is the bedrock of national laws, forbids inhuman treatment of anyone. It stating that, “Every person has a right to life, to physical and moral integrity and to humane treatment in all circumstances. Under no circumstances shall any person be subjected to torture, to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment”.
On its part, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in its Article 6, states that every human being has the inherent right to life. “This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.” This right was taken away from Anye by the brutal assailants.
The State of Cameroon failed in its obligation to prevent the violation of the journalist’s right to life. By signing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Cameroon has made an undertaking to respect and guarantee, to all individuals inhabiting its territory, the right to life. This is as per Article 2 (1) of the Convention.
After Anye’s brutal killing, local authorities promised to pen investigations aimed at tracking down his killers. So far, results of the investigations are still awaited.