Mourners place candles in front of a portrait of murdered Cameroonian journalist Martinez Zogo, at his outlet Radio Amplitude FM, in Yaoundé, on January 23, 2023. (AFP/Daniel Beloumou Olomo)

CPJ calls for transparency, public accountability in Cameroon’s investigation into Martinez Zogo’s death

Dakar, February 2, 2023–In response to multiple news reports that police arrested several people, including prominent members of Cameroon’s security forces, in connection to their investigation into the murder of the Cameroonian journalist Martinez Zogo, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:

“Cameroonian authorities must ensure transparency in the investigation into the brutal killing of Martinez Zogo and guarantee that the process is followed in a way that delivers full justice,” said Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, in New York. “Unfortunately, past inquiries into the deaths of journalists, including Samuel Wazizi, have left much to be desired, and authorities must ensure that their investigations and findings surrounding Zogo’s murder are public and credible.” 

On Thursday, February 2, in a statement published on social media, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, the secretary general of Cameroon’s presidency, announced that investigations led to the arrest of several individuals “highly suspected of being involved in this heinous crime,” and that others remain wanted. Ngoh’s statement did not name those arrested.

According to the same news reports, the investigations led to the recent arrests of Léopold Maxime Eko Eko, head of the General Directorate of External Intelligence (DGRE), and Justin Danwe, director of operations at the DGRE.

Unidentified attackers abducted Zogo, the director of the privately owned radio broadcaster Amplitude FM, from his car on the evening of January 17 in the capital city of Yaoundé. The attackers chased Zogo, who had recently reported on alleged public embezzlement involving a prominent businessman, to the gate of the local gendarmerie office near the journalist’s home, where he had sought help. Zogo’s mutilated body was found on January 22; Cameroonian authorities announced the same day that they had begun an investigation to find the perpetrators and hold them accountable.

In a separate incident, Cameroonian journalist Samuel Wazizi died in government custody in August 2019, but authorities failed to inform Wazizi’s family of the death for 10 months or hand over his body, according to CPJ research. CPJ has called for Cameroonian authorities to fully account for Wazizi’s death. At least five journalists remain behind bars in Cameroon in connection with their work, according to CPJ’s December 1, 2022, prison census.