Cameroon : outgoing minister’s bodyguards attack reporter

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the violent and humiliating treatment that Cameroonian newspaper reporter Caristan Isseri received from bodyguards at the home of former transport minister Alain Edgard Mebe Ngo’o last weekend.

Isseri, who reports for the Le Jour daily newspaper, went to the newly replaced minister’s home in Yaoundé on 3 March to get his reaction, as he does with ministers after any cabinet reshuffle.

On arrival, he was detained by the ex-minister’s bodyguards, who forcibly undressed him, slapped him, put him in a dog cage and hosed him with water. Accusing him of spying, they subjected him to a heavy-handed interrogation and mistreatment for several hours.

“He was not doing a report from the battlefield, but the journalist we rescued was completely traumatized by the mistreatment he had received there,” Le Jour editor Haman Mana said.

“The outrageous behaviour by this former minister’s bodyguards is indicative of the climate of violence to which Cameroonian journalists are exposed and the feeling of impunity prevailing in circles close to the government,” RSF said. “We urge the Cameroonian authorities to take all necessary steps to punish those responsible for this unacceptable attack.”

Denis Nkwebo, the head of the National Union of Cameroonian Journalists (SNJC), issued a statement condemning this “disgraceful act” and advising his union’s members “not to expose themselves to unnecessary danger by approaching senior government officials who are now disgraced.”

Cameroon is ranked 130th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

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Updated on 09.03.2018