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Martinez Zogo: One year after his death, what next?

A year after the gruesome murder of journalist Martinez Zogo, authorities in Cameroon are yet to fully shed light on the circumstances surrounding his kidnapping, torture, and killing.

Martinez was 50 years old when his body was found on an empty plot of land in Ebogo, a locality in Yaounde, Cameroon, on 22 January 2023. He had left his radio station, Amplitude FM, at about 8 PM on 17 January. People saw a group of men in a black Toyota Prado follow his car as he drove quickly to a nearby Gendarmerie brigade.

But the gate was closed, his car was hit by the Prado, and the journalist was spirited away. Five days later, his naked corpse was found dumped on the outskirts of the capital.

Following Zogo’s abduction and killing, authorities arrested several people, including two key suspects, Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga, and Léopold Maxime Eko Eko. However, the military court in charge of the matter has yet to conclude its investigation.

One of the suspects, Amougou Belinga is a businessman and media tycoon who
owns the newspaper L’Anecdote and TV channels Vision 4 and Telesud while Maxim Eko Eko is the director of the state external intelligence service.

On December 1, a leaked military court document showed that a release order was allegedly signed by Justice Sikati II Kamo, ordering the pair’s release from continued detention. However, Justice Kamo denied the report as ‘false information’. A few days later, the judge was replaced by another magistrate.

Consequently, in less than ten months, two judges working on the Martinez Zogo investigation have been removed and replaced by the authorities. This has not only derailed the investigation and the court proceedings but has raised concerns about interference by the authorities in the case, casting doubt on the independence of the judicial system in Cameroon.

Recently, reports said that another public official, Stéphane Martin Savom, mayor of Bibey municipality, in the center of Cameroon, was summoned for interrogation, plus other alleged suspects in connection wi
th the case.

The investigation into the murder of Zogo is believed to hold considerable suspense, given the implication already of top public figures and close allies to rival political clans in the country.

However, family members of the late host of the ‘Embouteillage program’, organized a mass on January 17, 2024, to pay him homage, followed by Amplitude’s staff on January 18, 2024, while they wait for the government to get hold of Martinez’s murders.

Source: Cameroon News Agency