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In Cameroon Crackdown A Journalist Is Stabbed But Silence From UN Guterres Who Bans Press

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Goot PFT NYP

UNITED NATIONS GATE, February 2 -- After Paul Biya who has ruled Cameroon for 36 years on January 28 had his opponent Maurice Kamto arrested, Inner City Press again asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and his spokesmen for their comment and action, if any. This came after Guterres had Inner City Press roughed up on 3 July 2018 after it interviewed Biya's Ambassador about the two men's Budget Committee deals and banned from the UN since. On Cameroon here is what Inner City Press has asked in writing to Guterres, his deputy Amina J. Mohammed (in Nigeria), USG Alison Smale, spokesman Farhan Haq and Stephane Dujarric and others: "While your Administration and Office of the Spokesperson have refused to answer a single written question from Inner City Press for fourteen work days, in contravention of conventions USG Smale made to UN Special Rapporteur David Kaye and Spokesman Dujarric made on camera, two formal questions for immediate answer and confirmation of receipt  1) in Cameroon it is reported that opposition figure Maurice Kamto as been arrested, after the 100+ arrests and shootings Inner City Press asked you about earlier today. What is the SG's comment and action, what are the read-outs of his six conversations with Paul Biya and of Francois Fall's visit there?  2) Again, what is the SG's response to the attached petition from South Sudan about (his) peacekeepers killing two civilians there?     Please explain how it is legitimate to ban from enter into the UN the media that has been asking about these and other questions, with no hearing or appeal.  On deadline." For sixteen hours, no answer, no acknowledgment of receipt, nothing. Then at the noon briefing, with Inner City Press banned, Dujarric read out a statement saying "we've been asked." Inner City Press tweeted video here The key lines: "We condemn incidents of violence at Cameroonian embassies in Paris and Berlin.     We are also concerned about the reported arrest of Mr. Maurice Kamto." The problem even with this is that Biya's government is using the embassy protests as part of their charges against Kamto for insurrection. So even on the rare day that Antonio "Golden Statue" Guterres puts out a statement, it is highly accommodative of Biya. Biya's government summoned French and German envoys to protest “violence and vandalism” during opposition demonstrations at his embassies in Paris and Berlin.  "The two European host governments failed to provide ample diplomatic and consular protection during the Jan. 26 protests by backers of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement, in violation of international conventions, Cameroon’s Communication Minister and government spokesman Rene Emmanuel said in a statement Tuesday in the capital, Yaounde." So that is the context of Guterres' statement, which has not been supplemented by anything about the detained journalists. And now a stabbed journalist: there's been an attack on Paul Chouta, a reporter for the privately owned news website Cameroon Web. Three unknown men stabbed him with a knife and beat him as he left his Yaoundé home near 6 a.m. that day.  The journalist was treated for stab wounds to his right hand and elbow and bruises to his face.  “They didn’t say anything as they started to physically attack me,” said Chouta.  “My neighbors came to my rescue and the attackers fled in a black Mercedes that had been waiting for them.”  Chouta and Emmanuel Vitus, the editor-in-chief of Cameroon Web believe the attack was in retaliation for Chouta’s journalism.  Vitus said he suspected the attack may be related to a January 22 live streamed interview Chouta did with Paul Eric Kingué, the campaign manager for Cameroon’s jailed opposition leader, Maurice Kamto.... The UN has said nothing on Biya's arrest of two other journalists, Théodore Tchopa and David Eyengue Nzima of Le Jour while covering an opposition gathering in Douala. Nor have Guterres, Smale, Amina J. Mohammed or his spokesman answered this: "January 30-5: On Cameroon, again, what are the read-outs of his six conversations with Paul Biya and most recently of Francois Fall's visit there?" We'll have more on this, and on Guterres. On January 26 he stayed in his / the public's $15 million mansion until 10:35 am, skipping a 9 am urgent meeting in the UN Security Council on human rights, video here. Guterres, having had Inner City Press roughed up and banned from entering the UN for 205 days and counting, ghoulishly said in his January 18 Press-less press conference, on "Cameroon, I have spoken, I don't know, probably more than six times with the President of Cameroon. Our people on the ground has been working actively to try to de‑escalate the tension in the country." Video here, Vine here. Really? De-escalated how? More like, advise Biya on how to cover up his killings, while seeking favors in the UN Budget Committee which Cameroon was chairing. On January 25 the UN's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq who has refused this week to answer a single question from Inner City Press made much of a presentation in Geneva by Guterres' Resident Coordinator, now controlled by Nigeria's Amina J. Mohammed, Allegra Baiocchi. Haq who has refused to provide this information to Inner City Press blathered about failed envoy Francois Lounceny Fall, who equated secessionists with extremists and whose UN visits Inner City Press is banned from covering.

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