Cameroonian businessman charged with complicity in torture after journalist's murder

Prominent Cameroon journalist found dead after abduction
Cameroon journalist Martinez Zogo's photo is displayed as fellow journalists pay their last respect to him after he was found dead after abduction, in Yaounde, Cameroon January 23, 2023. REUTERS/Amindeh Blaise Atabong/File Photo

KUMBA, Cameroon March 4 (Reuters) - A Cameroonian businessman has been charged with complicity in torture, a spokesperson for his business group said on Saturday, after he was arrested last month in connection with the murder of a prominent journalist, Martinez Zogo.

Businessman Jean Pierre Amougou Belinga was transferred from a detention centre and officially charged in Kondengui prison in the capital Yaounde on Saturday, said Ines Arielle Zamo Belinga, spokesperson for his business group Groupe L'Anecdote.

"Now lawyers take over," she said in a statement, without giving further details.

The justice ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Zogo's mutilated remains were found near Yaounde in January. The case has roiled the Central African nation, with some government and security officials cited by media as suspects.

In January, the president's office said several suspects had been arrested, but gave no details.

Belinga's spokesperson said the other detainees linked to the case have since been freed.

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.

He had recently reported on air about a case of alleged embezzlement involving a media outlet with government connections owned by Belinga.

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

Writing by Alessandra Prentice Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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