Ahmed Abba

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Ahmed Abba
Years active16
OrganizationRadio France Internationale
Known forWrongful Imprisonment, Award
AwardsInternational Press Freedom Award

Ahmed Abba is a Cameroonian journalist, correspondent for the Hausa broadcast service operated by Radio France Internationale. Questioned and detained for his reportage on Boko Haram, he was incarcerated in Cameroon for 876 days, and released in Yaoundé on December 22, 2017.[1]


According to Radio France Internationale, the media outlet he worked for, Abba's reportage comprised issues surrounding refugee movement, political asylum and amnesty, assimilation, and society. His repertoire also included writing about Boko Haram's movement in West Africa, as well as their territory, strategies and beliefs, and most importantly, terrorist attacks.

Arrest and Trial[edit]

Abba was arrested en route from a press briefing in the Cameroonian city of Maroua, after having met with a local governor there on July 30, 2015.[2] He was taken to the nation's capital, detained, and refused an attorney until October 19, nearly three months after the arrest. One news report also notes that Abba's legal statement was not recorded until November 13.[3] This is illegal, as per both the English Common Law and the French Civil Law, legal systems followed in regions of Cameroon.

Abba's trial began on February 29 of the following year, where the Court charged him of terrorism. Nearly two months afterwards, on April 24, he was sentenced to ten years of incarceration and fined 55 million Central African francs, as per his lawyer, Clément Nakong.[4] Abba appealed this sentence, according to his lawyer. After months of jail time, he was summoned to an appeals court on August 17 and spoke his defense,[5] which did not overturn the Court's previous sentencing.


On December 22, 2017, Abba was released from the Yaoundé prison in which he had been held for almost 29 months.[6] His release was met with relief and pride by the journalists and press freedom advocates worldwide.

Awards and Recognition[edit]

On December 16, 2017, Abba was honored as an International Press Freedom Awardee by the Committee to Protect Journalists, at their annual convention in New York.[7] His story and case were also spotlighted on the Committee to Protect Journalists' special report on violence against journalists in Cameroon.[8]


  1. ^ https://cpj.org/campaigns/free-the-press/ahmed-abba.php
  2. ^ "Cameroun: Ahmed Abba, déjà un an derrière les barreaux - RFI". RFI Afrique (in French). Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  3. ^ "Cameroon set to launch trial against Radio France International (RFI) journalist, Ahmed Abba". Cameroon Concord. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  4. ^ "In Cameroon, Ahmed Abba sentenced to 10 years in jail". cpj.org. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  5. ^ "" Je ne me suis jamais associé aux terroristes et ne le ferai jamais ", clame le journaliste Ahmed Abba". Le Monde.fr (in French). Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  6. ^ "Ahmed Abba to be freed after Cameroonian court reduces sentence on appeal". cpj.org. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  7. ^ "Ahmed Abba, Cameroon - Awards". cpj.org. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  8. ^ "Journalists Not Terrorists". cpj.org. Retrieved 2018-05-25.