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Cameroon army denies torturing journalist Wazizi

Cameroon’s military has admitted that journalist Samuel Ajiekah Abuwe died in detention but denies he was tortured.

Instead the defence ministry said in a statement that the journalist, popularly known as Wazizi, had died from “severe sepsis” two weeks after being arrested.

The statement from the military comes as journalists in Cameroon have threatened to go on strike over the death of their colleague, who the military said was “complicit” with terrorist activities by separatist fighters in the troubled anglophone South-West region of Cameroon.

Media reports of Wazizi’s death only surfaced on Tuesday, but this latest statement from the military says that he died just 10 days after his arrest in August last year.

Meanwhile, Wazizi’s lawyer says he had been prevented from communicating with him since his arrest on 3 August

The military’s statement also says that Wazizi’s family was immediately informed of his death on 17 August last year. But his relatives and his lawyer have all told the BBC that this was not true.

Human rights organisations and journalists’ unions say Cameroon’s government is notorious for silencing dissent, and that Wazizi was arrested for constant criticism of the government’s handling of the crisis in Cameroon’s anglophone regions.

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