This morning, I received word from a local contact: the body of Wayne Mudekwa was found near a farm outside Dogon Village. He was now at the morgue in Port Selao. It was my worst fear realized. I had long suspected this news was coming, but I held onto slim hope he may appear at my door.
When we arrived at the morgue, we were met by APR officials who claimed that Wayne committed suicide. We demanded to see his body and things began to escalate. They refused to show us and we refused to leave until we saw him.
Unbeknownst to me and the APR men, Peter had turned his camera on and was surreptitiously filming the encounter. After a few phone calls, we were granted access.
They led us to a large cold room soaked in death. The stench overwhelmed me. I had to steady myself before entering. I stood speechless as I looked inside. Bodies piled everywhere, young men, women…children. We were led to the far corner of the room.
There on the floor lay Wayne Mudekwa, his entire body covered in a layer of dried blood. His eyes were swollen shut, his jaw and nose had been broken. His right arm was burnt black. I couldn’t see the fingers on his hand. They’d been burnt clean off. He had stab wounds all across his chest.
And the APR claimed this was suicide.
I don’t know what’s happened to the rest of the Standard’s staff. I will keep investigating. I’ve learned that the Standard offices have been taken over by Oliver Tambossa and the APR leadership.
A great man has been lost. Wayne Mudekwa stood for peace and believed in his country. Through his strong reportage, Wayne beat at the country’s corruption, determined to bleed out the truth. It cost him his life.
Now the APR occupies the offices of the country’s last free newspaper. It’s a sad portrait of the state of affairs when Tambossa and his APR thugs destroy a house of truth and fill it with lies.