International PEN is outraged at the news of newspaper editor Germain S. Ngota Ngota’s death on April 22, 2010, while incarcerated in Kondegui prison in the Cameroonian capital Yaoundé.  As the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has said in its news release, the death certificate for Ngota, editor of the private bimonthly Cameroon Express, determined that the journalist died from a lack of medical attention. PEN urges members to send appeals to the president of Cameroon, calling for a full and proper investigation into Ngota’s death and to bring those responsible to justice.

Background Information

The following is from a press release issued by the Committee to Protect Journalists on April 22, 2010:

Journalist Germain S. Ngota Ngota was found dead on April 22, 2010. Ngota, widely known by his nickname, Bibi, was one of three journalists imprisoned since February 2010 because they were investigating corruption allegations involving top presidential aide Laurent Esso and the state-run oil company SNH. According to CPJ, authorities have not addressed claims by reporter Simon Hervé Nko’o of the weekly Bebela that security agents used psychological and physical torture to force the journalists—including Ngota—to reveal their source for a document on which the allegations were based.
 
Ngota was detained in the Kosovo ward of Kondengui prison, where hard-core felons are held, according to local journalists. Friends and colleagues who visited the journalist in prison a few days before his death told CPJ that he had complained of fatigue, gout, and joint pain. Ngota also suffered from high blood pressure and a hernia, they said.
 
 'The authorities failed to provide Ngota with adequate medical treatment despite repeated requests by his family and colleagues,' said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Tom Rhodes. 'We hold them responsible for his death and the well-being of the three other journalists still held in Cameroonian prisons.'
 
Newspaper editor Nestor Nga Etoga, who knew Ngota since 1995, described the late journalist as 'talented' and well-known locally for his investigations on public corruption in the oil sector. Ngota is said to have launched Cameroon Express in 2002-2003 and freelanced for several other publications. He was a 15-year veteran of the Cameroon press.
 
Ngota, 38, was the first Cameroonian journalist to lose his life in relation to his work, according to CPJ research, which goes back to 1992. He is survived by a wife and two children.

Write A Letter

  • Protesting the murder of journalist Germain S. Ngota Ngota on April 22, 2010;
  • Expressing serious concern about the prison conditions in which Ngota was kept, and in which the three other journalists with whom he was incarcerated remain;
  • Calling for a full, prompt and impartial investigation into Ngota’s death;
  • Expressing alarm at the harassment and abuse of at least a dozen journalists in Cameroon who have each raised questions about the administration’s management of public finances, the progress of an anti-corruption drive dubbed Operation Sparrowhawk, and local government affairs;
  • Calling on the government of President Paul Biya to hold members of his administration accountable for using security forces and criminal laws to settle scores with the media and further urging the government to initiate reforms that would refer matters of defamation to civil courts.

Send Your Letter To

President President Paul Biya

Fax: +237 22 22 08 70
Email: cellcom@prc.cm

Minister of Justice
Mr. Amadou Ali
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice 
Fax: +237 22 23 00 05

Please send a copy of your appeal to the diplomatic representative for Cameroon in your country if possible.