The news which broke out end of August about Nigeria-based journalist, Simon Ateba, arrested in Cameroon over allegedly spying for Boko Haram, has seen the continuation.
Ateba was detained after entering a refugee camp with 50,000 Nigerians and was reportedly kept in Mokolo gendarmerie without food. Both Nigerian and Cameroonian colleagues condemned the arrest of the renowned journalist.
Following several days of insinuations and uncertainty, Ateba has been freed today, which he made known himself via his Facebook page.
“After three nights and a day in a stinking cell in Cameroon’s far north and a long questioning at the office of their state security services where they asked me repeatedly ‘are you a spy for Boko Haram?’, I said ‘no.
“They asked again, ‘so you’re not a spy for Boko Haram?’ I said ‘Sir as I said before, I am not a spy, not a spy for Boko Haram, ISIS or any other terrorist organisation or country. I am just a powerless journalist with a keyboard and a camera travelling the world to tell little stories of powerless people.’
“Then the state security service agents took me to my hotel room around midnight but without my passport, and phones. I was then taken to the office of their general delegation 30 minutes ago and made to explain again to the top cop. My passport and phones have been given back to me, and I am free to travel out.
“Sometimes this profession called journalism sucks, but looking back, I am happy I am a journalist. I will just get back to the cell to give some mosquito stuff and food to the three guys there who taught me to count from one to ten in Fulfulde, the language spoken in northern Cameroon. I thank God.”
He also thanked those who actively campaigned for his release. In particular, he referred to a press conference by Ayodele Samuel for Friends and Associates of Simon Ateba held on Tuesday, September 1, at the International Press Center, Ogba Lagos.
Meanwhile the Nigerian army has recaptured Gamboru Ngala, the strategic town in Borno state, from Boko Haram insurgents. According to the September 1 statement, “the triumphant troops are now busy with clearing and mopping up patrols”.