arrest of Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga, influential tycoon

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In Cameroon, arrests took place on February 6, 2023 as part of the investigation into the death two weeks ago of journalist Martinez Zogo. First, that of the influential businessman Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga.

With our correspondent in Yaoundé, Polycarp Essomba

Businessman Jean-Pierre Amougou Beling was arrested at dawn, shortly before 6 a.m. at his home in Yaoundé on February 6, 2023. He was straight out of bed and asked to follow the strong team of police and gendarmes who proceeded to arrest him.

At the same time, and almost simultaneously, another team was deployed at one of its main collaborators, the journalist Bruno Bidjang, Managing Director of the Belinga media group.

Another take, and not the least, is the former commander of the Presidential Guard, retired Colonel Raymond Thomas Etoundi Nsoe, known to be the father-in-law of Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga.

All three are heard in the premises of the State Secretariat for Defense (SED), the very dreaded SED where investigations have been concentrated since the establishment of the mixed police-gendarmerie commission of inquiry.

In the afternoon, and despite an attempt at resistance from his relatives, the residence of Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga was searched as well as the headquarters of Vision 4 television. The telephones of all those arrested are also in operation. The investigators are interested here in the call lists and the content of the messages shared between these different people.

The group L’Anecdote, the media empire of Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga, published a press release on Monday morning in an attempt to play down the arrest of the businessman. ” This is an ongoing process “, Underlines the text, before inviting his supporters to calm and cool.

Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga is regularly quoted in this case as being the or one of the sponsors of the assassination of journalist Martinez Zogo. What this media mogul has always denied in private.

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Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga, a man of influence

The Anecdoteis the name of the first newspaper, which became a media and industrial empire, created by Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga.

In the 1990s, when Cameroon plunged into political crisis, after many odd jobs, Belinga became a journalist. Reputed to be close to the power of Paul Biya and also of Laurent Esso, the current Minister of Justice, Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga is rapidly expanding his network and creating over time a powerful group in his country as well as in the sub-region: television channels like Vision 4 and Télésud, a radio, newspapers, but also a bank and a private university. And very strong links with political actors, in particular heads of state on the continent.

Known to all by his deep voice – sometimes heard on messages that have leaked on social networks – the person concerned directs with an iron fist: for example, he forced a journalist who had just been fired to make the announcement himself. of his dismissal live on television.

« He never hid his ability to harm “, adds a colleague, by publishing in particular in 2006 in The Anectode the “Top 50 presumed homosexuals of Cameroon”. Ministers, directors and journalists cited, but no legal action taken.

Heard on the other hand in 2020 as a witness following the assassination of a young jet-setter, Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga had denounced a plot.

► To read also: Analysis-Cameroon: the assassination of journalist Martinez Zogo leads to a government trial

► To listen also: The Africa Guest – Murder of Martinez Zogo in Cameroon: “A message of intimidation” for the press

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