Martinez Zogo, popular Cameroonian radio journalist, was found dead after reports of a kidnapping

A popular Cameroonian radio journalist who went missing after a kidnapping a media rights group said was found dead, his employer and police said on Sunday.

Martinez Zogo was CEO of the Yaoundé-based private radio station Amplitude FM and the star presenter of the popular daytime program Embouteillage (Gridlock).

On the air, the 51-year-old regularly dealt with cases of corruption and did not hesitate to question important personalities by name. Zogo served a two-month sentence for criminal defamation in 2020 The Committee to Protect Journalists reported.

Prominent Cameroonian journalist found dead after kidnapping
Photo of Cameroonian journalist Martinez Zogo is displayed as colleagues pay their respects to him after he was found dead following a kidnapping January 23, 2023 in Yaounde, Cameroon.


He had been missing since Tuesday.

“I drove to Ebogo (15 kilometers north of Yaounde) this morning where I saw and recognized the body of Martinez Zogo. The deputy prosecutor was present and his wife was there to identify him,” said Charly Tchouemou, editor-in-chief of radio station Amplitude FM AFP.

Zogo’s death was confirmed to AFP by a police source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A large crowd gathered as Zogo’s body was taken to the morgue at Yaounde Central Hospital for an autopsy, a family member of the victim told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Social media was flooded with posts from Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in the wake of his disappearance, condemning “the brutal kidnapping of a journalist”.

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

“There is a lot of gray area surrounding the circumstances of his brutal kidnapping,” Sadibou Marong, head of the RSF’s sub-Saharan Africa office, told AFP.

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

Cameroon’s national journalists’ union condemned a “disgusting assassination attempt” 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 most dangerous countries on the continent for journalists operating in a hostile and vulnerable environment,” says RSF in its Cameroon country profile.

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

The political opposition was also outraged when Socialist Front (SDF) MP Jean-Michel Nintscheu denounced a “crime that cannot go unpunished”.

On Sunday, several Cameroonian TV stations dedicated their programs to Zogo’s death.

Cameroonian-French writer Calixthe Beyala said she was “devastated, saddened” by the news of his death.

“I knew he was dead as soon as it became known that he had been kidnapped,” she told Info TV.

“We can ask ourselves: whose turn is it? Any of us can find ourselves in that situation because we might have said something.”

Killings of journalists and other media workers increased by 50% in 2022according to the latest figures from the United Nations, one journalist is killed on average every four days.

“These journalists were killed for a variety of reasons, including reprisals for covering organized crime, armed conflicts or the rise of extremism and covering sensitive issues such as corruption, environmental crimes, abuse of power and protests,” UNESCO said in a statement . Martinez Zogo, popular Cameroonian radio journalist, was found dead after reports of a kidnapping

Rick Schindler

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