Mourners are seen at a ceremony for killed journalist Martinez Zogo in Yaounde, Cameroon, on January 23, 2023. Police recently arrested new suspects in the investigation into Zogo's death, including businessman Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga. (Daniel Beloumou Olomo/AFP)

Cameroonian police arrest businessman investigated by murdered journalist Martinez Zogo

Dakar, February 6, 2023 — In response to news reports that Cameroonian police on Monday arrested Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga and two of his associates in connection to the investigation into the murder of journalist Martinez Zogo, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement reiterating demands for a transparent investigation:

“It is a welcoming sign that Cameroonian authorities are conducting an active investigation into the killing of journalist Martinez Zogo, which has included the recent arrest of businessman Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga,” said Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, in New York. “Authorities must ensure that this investigation is conducted transparently and openly, so all can see that those responsible for Zogo’s murder are fairly held to account.”

In his reporting, Zogo had alleged that Belinga, a businessman and media owner, was involved in a public embezzlement scheme.

Authorities arrested Belinga at about 6 a.m. Monday at his home in the capital city of Yaoundé, according to those news reports and a statement by Anecdote, a media company Belinga owns. Authorities also detained Bruno Bidjang, a journalist at Anecdote, and Thomas Raymond Etoundi Nsoé, a former commander of Cameroon’s presidential guard who is Belinga’s father-in-law, according to those reports.

CPJ was unable to immediately determine how Bidjang and Nsoé are alleged to be connected to the investigation into Zogo’s death. CPJ previously called Belinga for comment and sent him questions via messaging app, but did not receive any responses.

Authorities also recently arrested Léopold Maxime Eko Eko, head of the General Directorate of External Intelligence (DGRE), and Justin Danwe, director of operations at the DGRE.

In late January, unidentified attackers abducted Zogo, the director of the privately owned radio broadcaster Amplitude FM. His dead and mutilated body was found on January 22.

CPJ is also investigating the circumstances of the death of journalist Jean-Jacques Ola Bébe, who was found dead in Yaoundé on February 2.