By Etienne Mainimo Mengnjo
Members and partners of a coalition comprising member countries from six continents have called on the Cameroon Government to redouble its efforts in bringing those responsible for the brutal murder of Cameroonian journalist Martinez Zogo to justice.
The call was made in a joint communique released on January 22, which garnered significant attention on social media. The communique acknowledges the Cameroon Government’s ongoing investigation into Zogo’s murder and the circumstances surrounding it.
“Today marks one year since Cameroonian journalist Martinez Zogo was found brutally murdered. We, the members and partners of the Media Freedom Coalition, acknowledge the Cameroonian government’s efforts to investigate his murder and its circumstances,” the communique stated.
It further stated that, “Every effort should be made to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice. We recall the crucial role free and independent media play in Cameroon and all over the world in democratic and open societies.”
The communique is co-signed by several countries, including Canada, Germany, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The Media Freedom Coalition, established in July 2019 at the Global Conference for Media Freedom, is a collaborative alliance working to advocate for media freedom, journalist safety, and the accountability of those who harm journalists in the line of duty.
Coalition members have endorsed the Global Pledge on Media Freedom, a written commitment to enhancing domestic media freedom and fostering international cooperation.
It should be noted that on January 17, 2023, Martinez Zogo, the Director of Radio Amplitude FM and a renowned host of the radio program “Embouteillages” in Yaoundé, was reported missing.
A few days later, on January 22, 2023, he was found approximately 25 km from the outskirts of Yaoundé, brutally beaten, mutilated, and tortured before being abandoned naked on a plot of land. Following his discovery, an investigation was launched to shed light on his murder.
Several prominent individuals, including businessman Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga and the former head of the Direction General of External Research (DGRE), Léopold Maxime Eko Eko, among others, have been arrested in connection with the case.
One year later, the investigation is still ongoing at the Yaoundé Military Court, with approximately twenty individuals under investigation. In recent weeks, a new investigating judge, Colonel Pierrot Narcisse Ndzie, has been appointed, tasked with reigniting and ultimately concluding the judicial investigation.
Colonel Ndzie has wasted no time in pursuing the case. On December 19, 2023, his first day in office, he summoned and interrogated suspects for several hours before remanding them in prison.
However, the previous investigating judge, Aimé Florent Sikati 2 Kwamo, who had made significant progress in the case, was subsequently sidelined after a controversy surrounding the release order for two key defendants: Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga and Léopold Maxime Eko Eko.
Although the release order, signed on December 1, 2023, was later determined to be a forgery and was not executed, it is still under investigation by the Minister of Defense within the Yaoundé Military Court, according to sources close to the case.