BBC Sports Journalist Arrested in Cameroon


BBC Sports Journalist Mohamed Fajah Barrie, is also the President of the Sierra Leone Sports Writers Association (SWASAL), has been detained together with SWASAL Secretary General Frank Magnus Ernest Cole and Sport commentator Mohamed Kelfala Sesay in Cameroon.
Photo: Mohamed Fajah Barrie with Sierra Leone President His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma

Two officials are also been apprehended – James Fofanah, team coordinator and M.A. Kabba of the Sports Ministry.

Mr Barrie who has been working for the BBC World service since 1997 is in Cameroon with two other Journalists to cover the ongoing 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches between Sierra Leone vs Cameroon slated for October 11 and 15 2014.

Latest report has quantified that all the three journalists were not included in the list of the Sierra Leone delegation and because of the Ebola scrutiny the Cameroon authorities put up several procedures to protect their territory.

However, Cameroon Minister of Health Andre Mama Fouda told VOA that restricting the delegation to 40 players was only one of several measures taken to keep the Ebola virus out of the country. He said the players from Sierra Leone will also be tested for Ebola throughout their stay.

Sports journalist, Fritz Bayamac says he is frightened and has decided not to go near the visitors.

“The Ebola virus is highly contagious and so I’ve decided not to go close to any Sierra Leone player or member of the delegation for interviews,” he said, adding that he intends to watch the match from a distance.

It is not yet clear whether their arrest is because of Ebola scare but Fajah Barrie posted on social media Thursday at around 16:51.

“As usual SWASAL wrote letter to the SLFA asking them to include us in their list. We even followed up with telephone calls to both the SLFA and Sports Ministry and we were assured that our names would be included.

“Instructions have been given to police officers at the entrance of the hotel not to allow us to step out of the hotel….This is really embarrassing”.

Football Sierra Leone understands that they have been told by a police commissioner that they are under detention and they will remain at their hotel till October 17 when they are due to leave Yaoundé and ask to watch the watch the matches on television in their rooms.

Cameroon’s Minister of Communication and government spokesperson Issa Tchiroma Bakari told VOA that they were not in any way stigmatizing Sierra Leone, but simply helping to stop Ebola’s spread.

He calls on Cameroonians to be welcoming, but not to go close to the visitors.

“All protective measures taken during the stay of the Sierra Leone football delegation in Cameroon are not intended to stigmatize members of this delegation,” he said.

“The measures undertaken are intended to guarantee their health and at the same time prevent any unfortunate contamination to occur during their stay.”

The World Health Organization says nearly 3,900 people have died from the Ebola outbreak, mostly in West Africa. There are more than 8,000 confirmed cases.


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