Scores of journalists in Cameroon’s troubled Northwest region have protested after rebels claimed responsibility for killing their colleague. A separatist spokesman acknowledged their forces shot the newspaper reporter Sunday night but said they mistook him for a military officer.
Journalists in Cameroon’s Northwest region say they staged a peaceful march on the streets of the regional capital Bamenda on Tuesday to condemn the killing of their colleague Anye Nde Nsoh.
The Cameroon Association of English-Speaking Journalists, CAMASEJ, reports that armed men opened fire on Nsoh on Sunday night as he relaxed at a bar in the Ntarikon neighborhood of Bamenda.
He was struck in the chest and died while being rushed to a hospital.
CAMASEJ says it was a targeted killing because the armed men went straight to Nsoh and shot him in front of helpless onlookers.
Jude Muma, local president of CAMASEJ, said journalists want the killers of Nsoh punished.
“Some faction in the fighting in the Northwest here has come out to take responsibility for what happened. We are saying that justice should take its course. Whoever pulled the trigger should pay for this crime. Human lives matter,” said Muma.
Muma spoke via a messaging app from Bamenda.
The protest took place after separatists claimed responsibility for Nsoh’s killing. Capo Daniel is the president of the Ambazonia People’s Rights Advocacy Group.
He said the group commands separatists fighting to carve out an independent English-speaking state called Ambazonia from French-speaking majority Cameroon.
Daniel said Nsoh was the victim of a case of mistaken identity. He spoke via a messaging app.
“A Cameroon commanding officer who visits that particular bar was the target of the operation that was carried out by Ambazonian forces. Unfortunately, Nsoh the young journalist was killed by Ambazonia forces in a case of a mistaken identity situation,” he said.
Daniel said the armed man who killed Nsoh has apologized but journalists say the killer should be found and punished.
Nsoh is not the only journalist who has died in the restive western regions.
Samuel Wazizi, who worked for Cillen Music Television, was arrested in 2019 for allegedly supporting anglophone separatists. He was not seen in public for more than a year. In 2020, the military declared that he died in government custody in August 2019.
Cameroon journalists also say that reporters Thomas Awah Junior, Tsi Conrad, Mancho Bibixy and Kingsley Njoka are being held at the Yaounde-Kondengui prison.
The reporters were accused of collaborating with western separatists, but they say they were simply doing their jobs. The government has charged them with threatening Cameroon’s national sovereignty.
Richard Nde Lajong is the publisher and editor of the Herald Tribune Newspaper. He said Cameroonian journalists in the Northwest and Southwest regions are increasingly facing oppression, threats, attacks and illegal detentions.
“No matter how objective you are in your report, you would be accused by the non-state armed groups of supporting the regular forces or the regular forces would accuse you of reporting in favor of the non-state armed groups. Government or whoever is concerned should find a solution to this problem so that journalists should do their work with ease,” he said.
Mooh Emile Simon, the Cameroon government’s highest official in Mezam municipality, where Bamenda is located, said government troops will hunt down the killers of Nsoh.
The government says media in the Northwest region will be protected and allowed free access to information but asks reporters to be cautious as any other civilian.