Arrests of Amougou Belinga and Maxime Eko Eko must be followed by further progress 0

IPI, the global network for independent journalism, welcomes apparent preliminary progress in the police investigation into last month’s murder of Cameroon journalist Martinez Zogo. IPI urges authorities to pursue the investigation to its full conclusion and hold all culprits responsible according to the law.

Martinez Zogo, the director general of radio Amplitude FM, a privately owned media house based in Yaounde, the capital city of Cameroon, was a popular journalist and host of the radio program ‘’Embouteillage’’. He reported on government malpractice, the embezzlement of public funds, and corruption.

On January 17, 2023, Martinez Zogo was abducted by unknown individuals in Yaounde. Several days later, on January 22, his body was found with signs of torture, as IPI previously reported. His abduction and assassination triggered national and international outrage and condemnation. IPI and other press freedom groups have called for a speedy and thorough investigation.

On February 2, 2023, the minister of state and secretary general of the Presidency of the Republic of Cameroon, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, issued a press release announcing the arrest of several suspects. At least 20 individuals are reported to have been arrested or interrogated, including several with high public profiles in the country’s security services.

Among the highest profile individuals arrested is Léopold Maxime Eko Eko, who heads Cameroon’s General Directorate for External Intelligence (DGRE).

On February 6, 2023, authorities arrested another powerful figure, the business tycoon Jean Pierre Amougou Belinga, who is said to have connections to high-ranking public officials and ministers. According to reports, Jean Pierre Amougou Belinga is strongly suspected of involvement in the kidnapping, torture, and killing of Zogo. Belinga is also the owner of the L’Anecdote media group in Cameroon. Two other powerful people, journalist Bruno Bidjang, the director general of Anecdote media group, and Raymond Thomas Etoundi Nsoe, a retired colonel and former commander of the presidential guard, are also suspected of involvement in the assassination and were arrested in Yaounde on the same day.

“IPI welcomes these signs of apparent progress in the investigation into the horrific murder of Martinez Zogo in Cameroon”, IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said. “However, these initial arrests and interrogations of suspects are only a first step on the path to justice. Cameroonian law enforcement must deliver on this initial progress and ensure that all those involved in this crime – including the masterminds, regardless of their position or prominence – are held to account.”

“We will be closely following this investigation, and call on the authorities to ensure sufficient transparency as the investigation moves forward in order to maintain its credibility. The world’s eyes are on Cameroon to firmly defeat impunity in this case.”