Cameroonian authorities have arrested Simon Ateba, a journalist, who though is a Cameroon national, but based in Nigeria. Ateba is thought to have been held for espionage, specifically for entering the Internally Displaced Persons sites without authorisation.
Cameroon Arrest Former PM News Journalist, Simon Ateba, For Espionage
Cameroonian authorities have arrested Simon Ateba, a journalist, who though is a Cameroon national, but based in Nigeria. Ateba is thought to have been held for espionage, specifically for entering the Internally Displaced Persons sites without authorisation. Ateba, an investigative journalist, is in Cameroon to report the state of Nigerian refugees in the camp. The former staffer of TheNews magazine/PM News, was arrested on Friday and currently in detention. Ateba’s journey to the IDP camps was initiated by the Nigerian Investigative Reporting Project, NIRP, an initiative of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, supported by Ford Foundation. He got a grant for the assignment from the ICIR and left Abuja on Sunday. His effort has been disrupted by his arrest at a Nigerian refugees’ camp in Makolo in Cameroon’s far north region as he tried to leave the camp.
Dayo Aiyetan, the executive director of the ICIR, who has been in contact with the arrested journalist in the cell where he is being held, said Ateba claimed he is being accused of spying for the dreaded Boko Haram insurgency group.
Explaining how he was arrested, the journalist said that he had spoken to the Governor of Maroua, the minister of communication, the army spokesman and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, before proceeding to the refugee camp in Makolo. He was arrested as he tried to leave the camp.
He said that he believed that he would be moved to Yaoundé, the Cameroonian capital, where he would be handed over to the secret police on allegations of spying for Boko Haram.
Ateba said that he has been fairly treated in detention but has not been given food or water since Friday afternoon when he was arrested. He added that he was beaten by the rain while on his way to the camp and had been feeling feverish since last night but had not been allowed to get drugs to treat himself
Attempts by the ICIR to contact the Cameroonian communications minister and the governor of Maroua have been unsuccessful as call to their mobile numbers did not go through.