On 3 April 2013, the young filmmaker Richard Djimeli was found lying in the bush in the Mendong neighbourhood in the capital Yaoundé. One of his fingers had been cut.
The kidnapping of Richard Fouofie Djimeli (also called Richard Djiff), a young film maker and multitalented artist, sent shock waves across the Cameroonian public, reported Arterial Network.
Richard Djimeli was abducted on 24 March 2013 at the Bonamoussadi student residential neighbourhood after having received several threats. He had produced a film that went unnoticed for months but suddenly became famous after an unknown person or body tried to threaten him to stop distributing it, and then abducted him after the film had premiered. The Cameroonian press and cultural activists signed a petition calling for his immediate and unconditional release. Read story…
Arterial Network reported that the Minister of Arts and Culture received both Djimeli’s production team and family in audience on 1 April 2013. The minister reassured the visitors that she would do everything within the ministry’s power to work for Djimeli’s release. Allegedly she personally handed the case over to the Prime Minister.
“This abduction intervened amidst authoritarian tensions in Cameroon, noticeable for several years now by multifaceted barriers to free dissemination of works of arts orchestrated by the powers that be, and targeting especially film productions, via outright censorship and prohibition of the screening of films and documentaries deemed ‘embarrassing’. The real issue with these works, beyond the authoritarian pretext of ‘breach of public order’, is their (real or alleged) scathing attack of the Biya regime in power since 1982, or that of a few multinationals operating in Cameroon and which are objective allies of the regime,” wrote Arterial Network.
“This time, he lost a finger. Next time it might be an arm, an eye. His physical integrity is threatened and the system will never let his art thrive,” wrote Afrik.com. “What country is it that has no writers or associations of writers, but put in prison their remaining writers, and the writers’ association president, Enoh Meyomesse?” (…) “We want answers. We want that finger which was lost replaced.”
Afrik.com – 9 April 2013:
Paul Biya doit restituer à Richard Djimeli son doigt (‘Paul Biya must return Richard Djimeli’s finger to him’)
Richard Djimeli est un jeune cinéaste camerounais qui a réalisé un film qui est passé inaperçu pendant des mois et est devenu un événement, à la suite d’un enlèvement…curieux ! Par Éric Essono Tsimi
Arterial Network – April 2013:
Cameroonian film director assaulted
Campaign pages for Richard Djimeli’s release:
Hashtag when tweeting on twitter.com: #EnsembleLiberonsLeCineasteRichardDjiff