Algeria’s Justice Ministry is investigating the death of a Cameroonian soccer player after a new post-mortem test indicated that he was beaten to death in a locker room back in August, the Algeria Press Service reported Friday. Algeria’s official account of Albert Ebosse’s death has come into question after an independent Cameroonian pathologist released findings this week that disputed the government’s claim that the 24-year-old soccer player had died after being hit with a projectile.
Justice Minister Tayeb Louh said Friday a judicial inquiry had been opened to follow up on an investigation by the public prosecutor. A magistrate "will set up an inquiry against every individual suspected in the crime or any other person guilty of dereliction of duty," the minister said in comments reported by APS.
Algerian authorities had previously maintained that Ebosse, a striker for the Algerian soccer club JS Kabylie, died from head injuries resulting from being hit by an object thrown by rioting fans during an Aug. 23 match. Sports Minister Mohamed Tahmi announced at the time that the player had been hit with a piece of sharp slate, according to the BBC. The incident led to the club being banned from pan-African competitions.
Ebosse’s family requested an independent set of post-mortem tests, which were released this week by Cameroonian pathologist Andre Moune. Moune’s findings show that the player was killed as a result of “brutal aggression” amid “signs of a struggle” in the locker room, reported the Guardian. The autopsy also showed evidence of "a rupture of his cervical vertebrae” and a collarbone wound that “must have been caused by a knife.”
"It can't be a slate tile, as the Algerians stated in their report, because if someone threw a tile, even at high speed, it couldn't cause such severe wounds like the ones I found on the body,” Moune said in an interview with the BBC. "For such an object to break through into the skull, it needs a heavy strength. The object that hit him came from close range."
The autopsy report has been forwarded to Algerian and Cameroonian authorities, while Ebosse’s family also urged the Confederation of African Football to investigate further. Tahmi has refused to comment about the new test results, reported the BBC.