Prominent Cameroonian journalist found dead after abduction

The mutilated body of Martinez Zogo was found near the capital five days after he was taken by unknown assailants.

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Cameroon is one of many countries across the continent - from Burkina Faso to Ethiopia to Equatorial Guinea - where journalists say media freedoms are under threat from authoritarian governments [Getty Images]

The mutilated body of a prominent Cameroonian journalist has been found near the capital, Yaounde, five days after he was abducted by unidentified assailants.

Martinez Zogo, director of private radio station Amplitude FM, was kidnapped on January 17 as he tried to enter a police station to escape his attackers, media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said.

“His body was found in [a place called] Ebogo 3 in the early hours of Sunday after he was tortured,” reported Amplitude FM.

Zogo, presenter of the well-known daily programme Embouteillage (Gridlock), had recently been talking on-air about a case of alleged embezzlement involving a media outlet with government connections, RSF said.

On the air, the 51-year-old regularly tackled cases of corruption, not hesitating to question important personalities by name.

According to RSF, police in a Yaounde suburb heard a loud noise outside their police station and found Zogo’s badly damaged car at approximately 8pm (19:00 GMT) on Tuesday.

“Police saw a black vehicle … driving off. They later came to realise this was an abduction,” the organisation said.

Zogo’s colleague, Charlie Amie Tchouemou, editor-in-chief of Amplitude FM, confirmed Zogo’s abduction and subsequent death. The police and the government have not commented yet.

‘Victim of hatred and barbarism’

Media advocates described his disappearance and death as a further sign of the perils of reporting in the African country.

“Cameroonian media has just lost one of its members, a victim of hatred and barbarism,” the Cameroon 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?”

The incident is the latest in a string of attacks against journalists in Cameroon, which is ruled by President Paul Biya, who has a decades-long record of repressing opposition.

Cameroon is one of many countries across the continent, from Burkina Faso to Ethiopia to Equatorial Guinea, where journalists say media freedoms are under threat from authoritarian governments.

“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.

In July 2015, Radio France Internationale reporter Ahmed Abba was arrested and imprisoned for two years on “terrorism” charges that rights groups denounced as a sham.

Outspoken reporter Paul Chouta, who worked for the private news website Cameroon Web, was beaten and stabbed by unknown attackers in 2019.

Source: News Agencies