February 22 marked one month after the mutilated body of Yaounde-based radio host Martinez Zogo was discovered on the outskirts of Yaounde, five days after he was abducted.
The incident that has shaken many strongholds in the country, led to the arrest of many top officials, and further stained Cameroon’s already tinted reputation as one of the most unsafe countries for journalists in Africa.
After people all over the country and the world called for justice, the public has been waiting patiently for the government to do its job.
Power of domestic and international mobilisation
Unlike in previous cases where attacks on journalists have usually gone uninvestigated, the government, many will agree, has shown more interest in seeking justice for Martinez Zogo.
A day after the journalist’s death, Communication Minister, Rene Emmanuel Sadi, condemned the attack as “unacceptable” and vowed that government was going to prosecute those responsible for the heinous crime.
On February 2, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, the Secretary-General at the Presidency, said that a number of suspects in the murder had been arrested.
This included the head of the General Directorate for External Research Maxime Eko Eko, who was arrested alongside Justin Danwe, his Director of Special Operations.
But one of the major developments of the Martinez Zogo case came on February 6, when media mogul, Jean Pierre Amougou Belinga, was arrested alongside his father-in-law, Raymond Etoundi Nsoe, who is also the former commander of Cameroon’s Presidential Guard.
They were arrested after a damning report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
The report was based on a confession made by Justin Danwe to investigators concerning their direct involvement in the murder.
RSF concluded that the murder of Martinez Zogo was a state crime in a second report published on February 10, in which the organisation alleged that more evidence had entangled Amougou Belinga and the Minister of Justice, Laurent Esso, in the murder.
Based on RSF’s first report, Martinez Zogo’s abductors got final instructions from Laurent Esso to “finish him.”
The alleged involvement of Minister Laurent Esso in the case, many said, will complicate the path to justice, since it would be difficult investigating him, given his status.
On the other hand, the Minister never responded to the accusations, prompting calls for his resignation.
On January 18, 27 days after Zogo’s body was found, Amougou Belinga’s lawyer, Charles Tchoungang, defended the billionaire’s innocence in the case and called all reports implicating him, ‘false.’
This was a few days after Belinga and other suspects were taken to the Yaounde Military Court for questioning, where they spent an entire part of the day before returning to their cells at the State Secretariat for Defence (SED).
One month after Martinez Zogo’s death, the world is holding its breath to see whether there will be justice. This is particularly so, because the path seems quite complicated, as top regime barons are the prime suspects.
By Tata Mbunwe