Cameroonian journalists receive two suspicious police summons

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Two journalists working for the Cameroonian private daily, Le Messager in Yaoundé, have been summoned to the police headquarters.

Marie Noëlle Guichi and Jean François Channon were presented last Tuesday with a summon to “appear before the deputy head of the economic and financial investigations at the police headquarters with their identity documents”.

The reason for the summon was not given by chief superintendent Benjamin Ntonga.

Suspecting the procedure, Guichi and Channon, backed by the management of their paper, sent their lawyers to the police to get further information on their summon.

Pius Njawé, chief executive of Free Media Group, the publishing company of private daily Le Messager and parent company of Radio Freedom FM which has been banned since 2003, has denounced the summon.

He specifically slammed the decision to summon individual reporters instead of the managing editor, who is responsible for the newspaper.

“If these journalists were summoned for written articles, the police would address the managing editor who is responsible for the paper who will have to put (make) collaborators available to the police,” Njawé laments.

Police sources said Guichi and Channon were summoned in connection with the “Albatros Case”, the presidential plane which was reportedly purchased in a poor condition in 2004, and which nearly killed the president’s family while travelling to Paris on 24 April of the same year.

In last Monday edition of Le Messager, the two journalists had published an article entitled: “Albatros Case: Cameroonian investigators will soon visit Boeing”, saying that about 10 persons, among them close allies of the President at the time of the incident, have been questioned.

The police sources said the journalists might be asked to reveal their sources.

Meanwhile, the journalists have gone underground since they were summoned last Tuesday, while the police chief and deputy director for economic and financial investigations at the police headquarters, Ntonga, has said he knows how to get them.

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