Tycoon arrested over Cameroon journalist Zogo’s murder

Tuesday February 07 2023
Murdered Cameroonian journalist Mbani Zogo Arsène Salomon

Mourners place candles in front of a portrait of journalist Martinez Zogo at Radio Amplitude FM in Yaounde, Cameroon on January 23, 2023. An influential Cameroonian businessman, Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga, has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the murder. PHOTO | DANIEL BELOUMOU OLOMO | AFP


An influential Cameroonian businessman who is suspected of involvement in the brutal killing of journalist Mbani Zogo Arsène Salomon — popularly known as Martinez Zogo — has been arrested, his company and lawyer confirmed.

Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga, founder and CEO of Groupe l'Anecdote (Anecdote Group), a multinational business empire, was arrested at dawn on Monday at his residence in Yaounde, the group said in a statement.

“He is at the State Defence Secretariat as part of an investigation,” the group said in a statement that did not link his arrest to the journalist’s murder.

Belinga’s lawyer, Barrister Charles Tchoungang, also confirmed the arrest of the 57-year-old business mogul, but said he could not immediately say whether the arrest is linked to ongoing investigation into the journalist’s brutal assassination.

“Yes, he has been arrested but I have not yet seen the file. So, I cannot give the reason for his arrest at the moment,” Tchoungang told The East African by phone.

Star radio host


The lifeless body of 51-year-old Zogo, in an advanced state of decomposition, was discovered on January 22, 2023, five days after he had been kidnapped by unidentified assailants. By the time of his death, the star radio host was the director of Amplitude FM, a station with a huge following in the Cameroonian capital Yaoundé.

The slain broadcaster was famous for his midmorning French talk show “Embouteillage” (traffic jam) in which he often exposed cases of alleged corruption and embezzlement of public funds. He had targeted Belinga on the show prior to his abduction and subsequent assassination.

In a statement on Friday, Reporters Without Borders said the journalist had been taken to a building belonging to the business tycoon prior to his gruesome murder.

Belinga was arrested together with one his closest collaborators, Bruno Bidjang, a journalist and director-general of the media subsidiary of Anecdote Group conglomerate, according to media reports.

Part of the media subsidiary of the Group is a pro-regime television channel, Vision 4 TV, and Paris-based pan-African Télésud TV channel.

The arrest of the business tycoon comes after that of “several people” the government announced were detained last week in connection to the journalist’s murder following an investigation ordered by President Paul Biya.