(Yaoundé) A journalist missing in unclear circumstances for several days in Cameroon was found dead on Sunday, his media and his family announced, while the opposition and press defense organizations denounce an “assassination”.
Martinez Zogo, 51, was the general manager of the private radio station Amplitude FM, based in Yaoundé, and the star host of a daily program, Traffic jambroadcast from Monday to Friday and very popular in the Cameroonian capital.
He had disappeared on Tuesday in troubled circumstances.
His body was discovered early Sunday morning 15 kilometers north of Yaoundé, Charly Tchouemou, editor-in-chief of Amplitude FM radio, told AFP. The latter assured to have recognized his remains, adding that his corpse was naked and entered into a state of decomposition. The death was also confirmed to AFP by the companion of Mr. Zogo, and a police source on condition of anonymity.
When asked, the authorities did not respond immediately.
On the air, this committed journalist regularly tackled corruption cases, not hesitating to implicate important personalities by name. He had notably been detained preventively for two months in 2020 in a case where he was accused of defamation. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called for his release and urged the government to decriminalize the offence.
The National Union of Journalists of Cameroon said in a statement its “dismay”, denouncing a “heinous assassination” and calling on media workers to dress in black on January 25 to mark their mourning.
The International Press Institute, a Vienna-based press freedom organization, has urged Cameroonian authorities to “promptly investigate the horrific murder of journalist Martinez Zogo and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice”.
The political opposition was also indignant, like the opposition deputy of the Social Democratic Front (SDF), Jean-Michel Nintcheu, who denounced in a press release a “crime” which “cannot go unpunished”. .
” Who’s next ? »
His disappearance was confirmed by the government in a statement on Saturday. An investigation had been opened four days earlier to shed light on the circumstances of his disappearance, according to a police source who requested anonymity.
The NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Friday that Mr. Zogo had been “kidnapped” on January 17 around 8 p.m. in front of a police station on the outskirts of Yaoundé. He was indeed seen for the last time in front of a gendarmerie station, confirmed the police source, who added that he “did not have any clues to affirm that it was a kidnapping”.
His body was taken in the morning to the morgue of the Yaoundé central hospital, according to Mr. Tchouemou. A large crowd was gathered there as well as many elements of the police, noted an AFP journalist. An autopsy was to be performed on the spot, a family member of the victim told AFP on condition of anonymity.
On condition of anonymity, she specified that she could not personally recognize Mr. Zogo.
“There are many gray areas regarding the circumstances of his brutal abduction. The authorities must launch a rigorous, thorough and independent investigation to establish the entire chain of responsibility and the circumstances that led to this sad event,” Sadibou Marong, head of the sub-Saharan Africa desk for RSF, told AFP.
On Sunday, several Cameroonian television channels dedicated their programs to this event. Asked about the Info TV channel, the famous novelist Calixthe Beyala said she was “dejected, saddened. I knew he was dead as soon as it was announced he was being abducted. One can ask the question: whose turn it is? Each of us can find ourselves in this situation for something that we might have said”.