A year later relatives and friends of a tortured Cameroonian

A year later, relatives and friends of a tortured Cameroonian journalist still don't know anything about it

The melted wax of the candles around the burning chapel on the radio FM amplitude A year after Martinez Zogo, a journalist who assassinated those in power in Cameroon, was tortured by a secret service commando, the situation is inexorably worsening.

Flowers, candles and souvenirs have been piling up under the photo of the shaggy host of flagship show Bottling – his index finger mischievously placed over his mouth as if to warn those who talk too much – since the discovery of his gruesomely mutilated body on January 22, 2023 .

“I used to have the courage to denounce. From now on I think before I write,” breathes Marie-Noël Djamen, journalist at Amplitude FM, who says she almost resigned after the tragedy.


“Freedom of expression continues to be restricted and independent journalists are at risk […] Three of them, including a “prominent” investigative journalist (Martinez Zogo), were killed in 2023,” notes Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The regime of 90-year-old President Paul Biya, who has been in power for more than 41 years, continues to severely suppress any opposition, international NGOs regularly accuse.

“This glowing chapel reminds us every day that the mourning is not yet over,” breathes Elise Domche Woudje, general director of the radio, dressed all in black like the rest of the staff on this Wednesday, January 17, the anniversary of the radio station Kidnapping her colleague.

The immense sadness that had gripped him a year earlier still seeps from every wall of this unfinished building that houses the radio station, with an outrageous tone like that of its late star presenter.


“The wound is still very raw. “We are still trying to understand what could have motivated men to commit such ‘abuse’,” says Yannick Yamedjeu, journalist at Amplitude FM.

Especially since the investigation is stalling. At least justice would have us believe, comment the pessimists, where the light will never fully go beyond the actors.

According to Ms. Woudje, not even Martinez Zogo's remains were returned to his family a year later, that is, to the morgue in case of new autopsies. Or to hide something, others say.

He was kidnapped in Yaoundé on January 17, 2023 at the age of 50 and found naked and lifeless five days later in Ebogo, about twenty kilometers away.

The attack caused a huge shock in Cameroon and forced the authorities to put previously untouchable figures behind bars.

Sultry businessman

Sixteen people are in custody, including members of a commando of the powerful secret service DGRE, who, according to the court, confessed to kidnapping and torturing the journalist. But they deny killing him…

There is Lieutenant Colonel Justin Danwé, who admits to leading the team, and its leader Léopold Maxime Eko Eko, director general of the DGRE, who denies any involvement.

But also a sulphurous, extremely wealthy and powerful businessman close to power, Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga, who was the subject of countless complaints and who regularly preached on his television and radio stations that he was untouchable.

But none among certain ministers close to Mr. Biya, although the Cameroonian media questioned them extensively.

Military judge

The investigation saw several twists and turns and a change of judges and prosecutors – military, as the investigations are led by soldiers and are judged by an army court.

This waltz of judges “should not serve as a way for the government to shirk its responsibilities,” the National Association of Journalists of Cameroon (SNJC) said on January 16.

Lt. Col. Danwé, divisional commissioner Eko Eko and Amougou Belinga remain charged with complicity in torture, even after an investigating judge allegedly issued a mysterious, false order to release the final two, which earned him his post and was intercepted at the last moment.

In a bistro next to Amplitude FM, the memory of Martinez Zogo is alive. On the day of the kidnapping, “he drank a soda that he didn't finish because he got a phone call. He just waved at me and left,” recalls a customer who prefers to remain anonymous.


“A year later, we know nothing about the investigation and it goes in all directions,” summarizes Charly Tchouemou, editor-in-chief of Amplitude FM, to AFP.

On Monday, radio staff will not work as a mark of mourning. But the anger remains. “Hope is dwindling, the investigation is stalling. For what? While the police have all the means to find out the truth,” Yannick Yamedjeu gets angry.

Martinez Zogo's enemies were undoubtedly legion. His caustic tone and vehement public accusations, sometimes unfounded, spared no one at the pinnacle of power except Mr. Biya and his family, a red line in the media.

His favorite targets before his death: Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga and a minister whom the journalist accuses of favoring his affairs.