In a dramatic turn of events, a military court in Cameroon has ordered the provisional release of and Léopold Maxime Eko Eko, key suspects in the high-profile murder case of journalist Martinez Zogo. This decision has added a new layer of complexity and controversy to a case that has already sparked national and international outcry.
Zogo, a prominent journalist known for tackling corruption, was found dead in January after being missing for five days. His murder triggered widespread shock and demands for justice, leading to President Paul Biya‘s order for an investigation. The case quickly escalated with the arrest of several individuals, including Belinga, a well-known businessman, and Eko Eko, the head of Cameroon’s external intelligence agency.
However, Lieutenant-Colonel Florent Aimé Sikati II Kamwo of the Yaoundé military court cited insufficient evidence for their continued detention. This development comes despite new, incriminating evidence unearthed by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), pointing towards Belinga’s deeper involvement and possible connections to justice minister Laurent Esso.
The investigation, which RSF describes as rapidly evolving, reveals a complex web of interactions. Interrogations and phone records suggest Belinga’s direct involvement in Zogo’s murder and potential coordination with Eko Eko and Esso. The evidence includes a significant financial transaction from Belinga to Danwe and threats allegedly made by Belinga against Zogo and other journalists.
Belinga’s lawyer, Charles Tchoungang, has contested these developments, accusing the investigation of lacking legal rigour and being manipulative. Meanwhile, the focus has shifted towards Esso’s potential role, with investigators asserting proof of his deep involvement, a claim that raises questions about the extent of government complicity in the case.
This case has not only thrown a spotlight on press freedom in Cameroon but also on the country’s judicial system’s ability to handle politically sensitive cases. With the ongoing investigation and the military justice system now at the helm, questions about the depth of complicity and the future of key figures like Eko Eko remain unanswered.