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Cameroonian businessman arrested after journalist“s murder

2023-02-06T13:54:27Z

Journalists pay last respect to their prominent colleague Martinez Zogo who was found dead after abduction, in Yaounde, Cameroon January 23, 2023.REUTERS/Amindeh Blaise Atabong

A Cameroonian businessman was arrested on Monday in connection with the murder of a prominent journalist, Martinez Zogo, whose mutilated remains were found near the capital Yaounde last month after he was abducted, the national radio station CRTV said.

The case has roiled the Central African nation, with some government and security officials cited by media as suspects. The president’s office said last week that several suspects had been arrested, but gave no details.

Zogo, the director of private radio station Amplitude FM, was kidnapped on Jan. 17 by unknown assailants after trying to enter a police station to escape his attackers.

His body was found on Jan. 22.

Zogo had recently reported on air about a case of alleged embezzlement involving a media outlet with government connections owned by businessman Jean Pierre Amougou Belinga.

Belinga’s company L’Anecdote Group, which owns businesses including a private television station, confirmed his arrest in a statement on Monday. His lawyer told Reuters that his client had not been charged.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in a report on Friday, citing a written confession of someone involved, that Zogo was apparently taken to a construction site that belongs to Belinga. The businessman’s lawyer declined to respond to the allegation, saying they will wait for the charges.

The RSF report said over a dozen members of Cameroon’s intelligence service had been detained, including its senior leadership, one of whom provided the written confession.

Spokespeople for Cameroon’s government and the intelligence service could not be reached for comments on Monday.

Zogo’s killing was the latest in a string of attacks against journalists in Cameroon, which has a vibrant press but where President Paul Biya has a decades-long record of repressing opposition.

The media watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists on Thursday urged Cameroon authorities to be transparent over Zogo, and also account for the death of another journalist in government custody in 2019.