Abducted Popular Cameroon Journalist Found Dead, Mutilated

The mutilated body of a prominent Cameroonian journalist was found dead on Sunday, near Yaounde five days after he was abducted by unidentified assailants, the press union and a colleague said on Sunday.

Martinez Zogo was managing director of Yaounde-based private radio station Amplitude FM and the star host of a popular daily program, Embouteillage (Gridlock).

On the air, the 51-year-old regularly tackled cases of corruption, not hesitating to question important personalities by name. Zogo served a two-month prison sentence for criminal defamation in 2020, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported.

Martinez Zogo was kidnapped on Jan. 17 by unknown assailants after trying to enter a police station to escape his attackers, media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said.

Zogo had recently been talking on air about a case of alleged embezzlement involving a media outlet with government connections, RSF said.

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“Cameroonian media has just lost one of its members, a victim of hatred and barbarism,” Cameroon’s journalists’ trade union said in a statement. “Where is the freedom of the press, freedom of opinion and freedom of expression in Cameroon when working in the media now entails a mortal risk?”

His colleague, Charlie Amie Tchouemou, editor-in-chief of Amplitude FM, confirmed Zogo’s death and his abduction.

According to RSF, Zogo’s badly damaged car was found outside a police station in a suburb of the Cameroonian capital Yaounde on Tuesday.

“There are many grey areas regarding the circumstances of his brutal abduction,” Sadibou Marong, head of the sub-Saharan Africa office of RSF, told AFP.

“The authorities must launch a rigorous, thorough and independent investigation to establish the full chain of responsibility and the circumstances that led to this sad event,” Marong said.

Cameroon’s national journalists’ union condemned a “heinous assassination” and urged media workers to wear black on January 25 as a sign of mourning.

“Although Cameroon has one of the richest media landscapes in Africa, it is one of the continent’s most dangerous countries for journalists, who operate in a hostile and precarious environment,” RSF says in its Cameroon country profile.

The International Press Institute, a Vienna-based press freedom organization, urged Cameroonian authorities to “promptly investigate the horrific murder and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice”.

The political opposition was also indignant, with Social Democratic Front (SDF) deputy Jean-Michel Nintcheu denouncing a “crime which cannot go unpunished.”