(Adds reaction from Amnesty International)

Yaoundé, 23 Jan. The lifeless and mutilated body of Cameroonian journalist Martinez Zogo, who had recently spoken about an alleged case of corruption, was found on Sunday after being kidnapped last Tuesday in the country’s capital, Yaoundé, local media reported Monday.

“The SNJC (National Syndicate of Cameroonian Journalists) learned with dismay, several days after he disappeared, that the body of Martínez Zogo, host of the Amplitude FM radio station in Yaoundé, presenter of the program ‘Embouteillages’, was discovered without life and mutilated (…) in the near periphery of Yaoundé,” this professional organization reported in a statement.

As reported last week by the NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Zogo, director of the aforementioned station, was “kidnapped” on January 17 around 8:00 p.m. local time (7:00 p.m. GMT) in the Nkol-Nkondi district, at outskirts of the capital.

On the popular program he hosted, the journalist had spoken about a case of alleged embezzlement involving wealthy businessman Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga, owner of various media outlets and allegedly close to the Cameroonian finance minister, RSF noted.

“The dramatic kidnapping of Martinez Zogo unfortunately confirms the alarming situation regarding the safety of journalists and the state of press freedom in Cameroon,” Sadibou Marong, head of the Africa office of this NGO, said in a statement at the time.

After the kidnapping of the informer, the Cameroonian Information Ministry published a statement last Friday in which it assured that “instructions” had been given to clarify what happened.

“This is the place to say that the Government has always been willing to guarantee the free exercise of the profession of journalist within the framework of and respect for the laws and regulations in force,” he added.

However, although Cameroon has a long list of media and press freedom in the country has improved slightly in recent years, the work of informants continues to carry a high risk.

This African nation is ranked 118 out of 180 in the press freedom index produced annually by RSF.

“His probable murder adds to the already too long list of people killed, assaulted, convicted or intimidated in Cameroon for denouncing human rights violations,” said today the director for West and Central Africa of the human rights NGO, Amnesty International ( AI).

Through a statement, the organization asked the Cameroonian authorities for an “effective, exhaustive and impartial investigation to clarify this horrible event”, as well as to guarantee freedom of expression in the country.

In June 2020, journalist Samuel Wazizi, who had been in military custody for ten months, died with marks allegedly from corporal punishment while being transferred to a hospital in Yaoundé. EFE


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