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Emotions high in Cameroon as missing journalist Martinez Zogo is found dead

A popular Cameroon radio journalist who had been missing following what a media rights group called an abduction has been found dead, his employer and police said.

“I went to Ebogo (15 kilometres north of Yaounde) early this morning where I saw and recognised the body of Martinez Zogo. The prosecutor’s deputy was present and his wife was there to identify him,” Amplitude FM radio editor in chief Charly Tchouemou told AFP news agency on Sunday.

Zogo was managing director of Yaounde-based private radio station Amplitude FM and the star host of a popular daily programme, Embouteillage (Gridlock).

On the air, the 51-year-old regularly tackled cases of corruption, not hesitating to question important personalities by name. He had been missing since Tuesday.

The death of Zogo was confirmed to AFP by a police source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A large crowd gathered as Zogo’s body was taken to the morgue of Yaounde central hospital for an autopsy, a member of the victim’s family told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Social media has been awash with posts following his disappearance with Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemning “the brutal abduction of a journalist”.

According to RSF, Zogo’s badly damaged car was found outside a police station in a suburb of the Cameroonian capital Yaounde on Tuesday.

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Push for independent investigation

“There are many grey areas regarding the circumstances of his brutal abduction,” Sadibou Marong, head of the sub-Saharan Africa office of RSF, told AFP news agency.

“The authorities must launch a rigorous, thorough and independent investigation to establish the full chain of responsibility and the circumstances that led to this sad event,” Marong said.

Cameroon’s national journalists’ union condemned a “heinous assassination” and urged media workers to wear black on January 25 as a sign of mourning.

The International Press Institute, a Vienna-based press freedom organisation, urged Cameroonian authorities to “promptly investigate the horrific murder and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice”.

In a statement posted online, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalist is calling for “an independent, transparent, thorough  and credible investigation” into the case.

“Impunity for crimes against journalists in Cameroon must end and his killers, including those who ordered & executed, must be brought to justice.”

The political opposition was also indignant, with Social Democratic Front (SDF) deputy Jean-Michel Nintcheu denouncing a “crime which cannot go unpunished”.

On Sunday, several Cameroonian television channels dedicated their programmes to Zogo’s death.

Cameroonian-French writer Calixthe Beyala said she was “dejected, saddened” by news of his death.

“I knew he was dead as soon as it was announced that he was kidnapped,” she told Info TV.

“We can ask ourselves the question: whose turn is it? Each of us can find ourselves in this situation for something that we might have said.”

In June 2020, another Cameroonian journalist, Samuel Wazizi, who was arrested in August for criticising the government’s handling of a separatist revolt, died in detention

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