RSF condemns Cameroonian radio station director’s abduction

Le journaliste Martinez Zogo, enlevé par des personnes non identifiées dans la soirée du 17 janvier 2023.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Cameroonian authorities to make every effort to find Martinez Zogo, a radio station director who was kidnapped on 17 January in the capital, Yaoundé, and to bring those responsible to justice.

The director of privately-owned Amplitude FM and the host on a very popular radio show called “Embouteillages", Martinez Zogo was abducted at around 8 p.m. in Nkol-Nkondi, a district on the outskirts of the capital.

After hearing a loud noise outside their police station in Nkol-Nkondi, police officers found that Zogo’s car had rammed the police station’s outer gate in an apparent attempt to enter. No one was inside his car, but they saw a black Toyota Prado driving away. They subsequently realised that Zogo had been abducted.

Martinez Zogo’s dramatic abduction unfortunately confirms the alarming situation regarding the safety of journalists and the state of press freedom in Cameroon. Martinez Zogo was just doing his job and journalists must be able to work safely. The authorities must immediately make every effort to find him and to bring all those involved in this outrageous abduction to account.

Sadibou Marong
Head of RSF’s Africa bureau

Zogo had for some time been talking on the air about a case of embezzlement allegedly involving Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga, a wealthy businessman who owns the Vision 4 TV channel and the weekly newspaper L'Anecdote and is said to be close to the current finance minister.

Belinga recently brought a libel suit against two journalists, Jacques Blaise Mvié and Conrad Atangana, and the weekly newspaper they work for, La Nouvelle, for publishing an open letter accusing him of links to several corruption cases. Mvié has also been the target of physical violence in recent months. His car was vandalised on the night of 6 November and his dog was found dead from poison on 6 December.

Journalists’ safety is a real problem in Cameroon. Paul Chouta, a reporter for Cameroun Web, a news site critical of the government, was forced into a car, given a severe beating and left for dead at the side of a road on 9 March 2022, two days after he posted a photo on Facebook showing the finance minister and Belinga. The complaint Chouta filed with a Yaoundé court has yet to produce any results. He told RSF he has been afraid to go out since the attack.

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