Business tycoon, Jean Pierre Amougou Belinga and ranking military official, former Chief of the country’s intelligence community, Maxime Eko Eko, the two men suspected to be behind the kidnap, torture, and killing of outspoken journalist, Martinez Zogo will remain in jail, at least for the foreseeable future.
But it could have been different. On Friday, December 1, a release order purportedly signed by the investigating judge at the Yaounde Military Court, Sikati II Kamwo Florent Aimé circulated on social media.
The lawyers of the two personalities who have been in detention for nine months at the main Kondengui prison in Yaounde, went to collect their clients’ release documents from the Registrar of the Court.
Maître Charles Tchoungang, the main defender of Jean Pierre Amougou Belinga, shared the document on social media and this triggering wild celebrations within the ranks of the suspects’ family circles and close friends.
But less than 24 hours later, the same Military Court judge, Sikati II Kamwo Florent Aimé signed two new documents which appeared on social networks denying the release of Eko Eko and Amougou Belinga, describing the initial document as fake.
“I have the honor to inform you that the release order circulating on the networks since this afternoon is not authentic. Any decisions in this procedure will be taken in due course,” said the new document addressed to the Government Commissioner at the Yaounde military court.
The latter also immediately sent a letter to the governor of the main Kondengui prison to ask him not to execute “any release order”.
There are suspicions that Amougou Belinga and Maxime Eko Eko could actually have been scape-goated; that the killers of the journalist could still be at large.
On January 22, 2023, the mutilated body of Arsène Salomon Mbani Zogo, popularly known as Martinez Zogo, journalist, and director of radio station Amplitude FM, was found near Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde.
Five days earlier, on January 17, 2023, unidentified assailants had abducted the journalist. He was an outspoken critic of government corruption, frequently calling out top government functionaries over their theft of government money. H eoften outrightly called out Amougou Belinga.
At least 20 people have been arrested in connection with the killing, but Amougou Belinga and Maxime Eko Eko are in jail for “complicity to torture” the journalist.
So, who actually killed the journalist? That question keeps flying in the air.