Cameroon: Journalist Martinez Zogo’s Abduction, Dead Raises Indignation Over Press Freedom

By Synthia Lateu

Martinez Zogo was abducted in Nkol-Nkondi, a district in the outskirts of Yaoundé on January 17

The editor-in-chief of the privately owned radio broadcaster Amplitude FM, Martinez Zogo has been found dead, five days after he was abducted by unidentified men. The body of the radio host was discovered in Soa, Yaounde on January 22, 2023, necked and in a state of decomposition.

According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Martinez Zogo was abducted in Nkol-Nkondi, a district on the outskirts of Yaoundé on January 17 near his home. “After hearing a loud noise outside their police station in Nkol-Nkondi, police officers found that Zogo’s car had rammed the police station’s outer gate in an apparent attempt to enter. No one was inside his car, but they saw a black Toyota Prado driving away. They subsequently realised that Zogo had been abducted.” RSF wrote.

The committee to protect Journalists reported that neighbours had seen unidentified men outside Zogo’s home several nights before his abduction adding that the brakes on the journalist’s wife’s vehicle were recently tampered with, and she was in an accident two days before her husband’s disappearance.

Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator said after Zogo’s abduction that authorities needed to take the case seriously given his recent investigative reporting and should ensure that those responsible for his disappearance are brought to justice.

Journalists across the country have expressed worries over the safety of Journalists in Cameroon. The Cameroon Association of English-Speaking Journalists, CAMASEJ, in a press release said: “CAMASEJ calls on authorities to urgently carry out a thorough, independent and transparent investigation into the abduction & assassination of Martinez Zogo – a credible investigation whose findings must be made public. Those who masterminded as well as those who ultimately executed such a gruesome murder must be held accountable and punished for their crimes.

“Impunity for crimes against journalists and other media workers in Cameroon is unacceptable and provocative. It must stop. It is still fresh in our minds that the killers of Samuel Wazizi are yet to be brought to justice despite the Head of State promising to investigate his killing. We urge the government to make public the findings of both investigations,” CAMSEJ President Jude Viban said in a press release.

“We remember cases of colleagues like Mimi Mefo, and Samuel Wazizzi, the numbers are so many. Recently the publisher of Messager Newspaper had to spend some hours in detention. So, I think that generally, Cameroon is not a good record,” Journalist, Prince Joël Mukage told Equinox Tv after Zogo’s disappearance.

CAMASEJ calls for a thorough, independent and transparent investigation into the abduction & assassination of Martinez Zogo

“Cameroon is yet to understand that the Journalist is what we call the fourth estate which means that after the legislative, the judiciary and the executive the Journalist is there. But in Cameroon, it’s a shame that the position of a journalist is yet to be known. We pray that in the days ahead, the Journalist’s position should be understood,” Mukage added

Reacting to the incident, the Cameroon government issued a communiqué on January 20, 2023, stating that instructions have been given to shade light on the disappearance of Martinez Zogo. Minister of Communication Rene Emmanuel Sadi in the communiqué said the Cameroon government ensures that journalists freely exercise their profession while respecting the laws and regulations in place as well as the ethics and deontology of the profession. He furthered that, the government reaffirms that all measures have always been put in place to preserve press freedom in Cameroon and calls on journalists to be responsible and professional while exercising.

 

 

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