Atia Tilarius Azohnwi, journalist with The Sun newspaper and President of the Buea Chapter of the Cameroon Association of English Speaking Journalists, CAMASEJ, has been charged with “promotion of terrorism”. Atia who has been in jail since February 9, was handcuffed and brought from the dreaded Kondengui Principal Prison to the Military Tribunal in Yaounde today July 14 where he learned of his supposed crime for the first time.
The Political Desk Editor of The Sun was arrested in Buea more than five months ago alongside Amos Fofung of The Guardian Post newspaper and Mofor Ndong, Publisher of the Bamenda-based newspaper Voice of the Voiceless. Ndong was also present at the Military Tribunal but details on the charges levied against him are still sketchy.
We gathered that Amos Fofung, for his part, would likely be set free in the days ahead. He did not appear in court today. We learned a couple of people who applied for the military tribunal to grant them authorisation to visit Fofung and Atia, were only authorised to visit Atia. “This could mean Amos will be going home soon” one of the visitors told Journal du Cameroun.
It should be recalled that the trio were arrested for supposedly supporting the on-going protest in the North West and South West regions formerly referred to as Southern Cameroons prior to reunification. The protest was prompted by what is today known as The Anglophone Problem.
They are however not the only journalists arrested during the upheavals. Among the closed to one hundred Anglophone detainees in the Kondengui prisons are a handful of journalists including Thomas Awah Junior, publisher of the monthly Aghem Messenger magazine, arrested in Bamenda on January 2 and Hans Achumba, journalist for Jakiri Community Radio in Bui Division, arrested on allegations of spreading Hon. Joseph Wirba’s calls to resistance.
Tim Finnian, Publisher of Life Time newspaper, arrested on January 27, three days after his newspaper published an article alleging two English-speaking youths had died in state custody, is also currently held in the Kondengui Central prison.