Cameroon government army soldiers and members of the National Gendarmerie and other security agencies raided the office of the Cameroon Concord News Group in Buea seizing computers. No reason has so far been given concerning the military operation, but we of the Concord Group believe it is related with our coverage of the Southern Cameroons crisis.
The backbone of any free society is an unbiased, professional, and responsible media. Attacks on the media and press in Cameroon carrying out their daily duties are sadly now a regular occurrence. The regime in Yaoundé is aping the world’s worst with astonishing efficiency and regularity. The evidence of recent months indicates that these attacks are now reaching epidemic proportions. These must be discontinued.
Last night’s, forcible entry by French Cameroun gendarmes into the Cameroon Concord News Group regional office in Buea is unacceptable and reprehensible. These persistent attacks on our property, staff, the Anglophone press and media in Cameroon are sad, regrettable and a backward step. The prudent course of action for the Cameroon government is to desist from these campaigns of attacks and intimidation. Paul Atanga Nji must know that for Cameroon to enjoy any modicum of respectability on the international stage, freedom of the press and media must be respected within its territory.
These acts of vandalism and intimidation by Cameroon government thugs disguised as law enforcement officers is the third of such intimidation tactics on our property and staff within six months. Yaoundé must be aware that resentment over its treatment of the English media and press fuels the secession struggle in the Southern Cameroons. The excuse for invading our premises in Buea is weak, false, and unacceptable.
Samuel Wazizi and Kingsley Njoka belong to a long line of media and press victims, many of whom will never be reported in the news. The regime in Yaoundé evaluation of the resolve of the media and press in the Southern Cameroons is exceedingly inaccurate.
Cameroon Concord News Group demands the authorities in Cameroon make public any offenses committed by its media personnel or desist from these constant harassments and intimidation. We cannot and would never ignore our responsibility to the Cameroonian public and the world. Our duty as a media organization is to report the news and stimulate debate and no amount of intimidation would deviate us from our duty.
No civilized society can thrive without a free press and media and Cameroon Concord News Group is here to stay.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai
Chairman and Editor-in-chief