Tag Archives: journalists

Burkina Faso: journalists assassination

Brussels 29.04.2021 “By assassinating journalists at Burkina Faso, terrorists have once again shown their cowardice and true criminal face: that of defenders of an obscurantism that destroys all freedom of expression and speech. Our full solidarity with bereaved families”, the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote on his Twitter micro blog, reacting upon news about the bodies of the missing journalists found.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez confirmed Tuesday, April 29, that two Spanish journalists have been killed in an attack in Burkina Faso.

“The worst news is confirmed. All our condolences for the relatives and friends of David Beriain and Roberto Fraile, who were murdered in Burkina Faso,” he tweeted, praising “those who, like them, carry out courageous and essential journalism from conflict zones.”

Spain’s foreign minister said on Tuesday, April 28, that two bodies found in Burkina Faso appear to be those of a pair of Spanish journalists abducted while filming a documentary there, although authorities are still awaiting final confirmation.

“The situation is confusing,” Arancha Gonzalez Laya told a news conference, explaining that she was in constant contact with Burkinabe authorities, who provided the information about the dead bodies, via Spain’s Embassy in Mali.

According to the experts, there was no doubt that the attackers from jihadists groups, prolific in Sahel region, in spite of efforts of the governments of the G5 countries and international forces to ensure security of the population.

The incident took place on Monday at around 9am, on the road joining Fada N’Gourma and Pama. The reporters were in the area, located near Arli National Park, to film a documentary on the government’s fight against poachers. The convoy was made up of two pick-up trucks and around 20 motorbikes, on which journalists, environmental agents and a military escort were travelling. The convoy left Natiaboani in the morning made a pause at distance at 60 km, when the Spanish journalists got out of one of the trucks and started operating a drone to take aerial photos. It was the moment when the attack began, according to El Pais newspaper.

Local sources cited by Agence France Presse (AFP) reported that two other members of the group, an Irish national and a man from Burkina Faso, have also disappeared and that at least three people were wounded in the attack.

Isabel dos Santos to sue press

Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos said she was launching legal action against a consortium of journalists and its media partners over the publication of thousands of documents about her business empire, Reuters reports.

Isabel dos Santos, will be represented by the American law firm Schillings Partners, which represents personalities such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry and Meghan Markle, JK Rowling and Lance Armstrong, in the lawsuits she has instituted against the consortium of journalists, according to Visão magazine.

 

BBC journalists arrested in Uganda

Police arrested a team of the BBC journalists in Uganda for illegal possession of prescription drugs, but the country’s government spokesman said the reporters had been helping to expose corruption, and demanded their immediate release.

Patrick Onyango, the police spokesman, said five suspects had been detained overnight. They included two Ugandans and one Kenyan, the wife of a local journalist from NBS Television who was working with them, and a driver.

Fourteen boxes of tablets had been seized, along with other vaccines.

Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said the journalists had been cooperating with the State House Health Monitoring Unit to investigate the theft and sale of Ugandan government drugs in  South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo.

“I am yet to find out the logic why police arrested these journalists, who in my view were helping government to unearth the rot which is in the system,” said Opondo. “They should be released unconditionally.”

The BBC confirmed it was in contact with the authorities over the case.

AMENDED: 8/02/2019 

Uganda police frees BBC journalists arrested over possession of drugs.

Russian journalists victims of CAR armed robbery

The investigation has restored a sequence of events concerning the fatal trip of three Russian journalists – Orkhan Dzhemal, Kirill Radchenko and Alexander Rastroguyev – to the Central African Republic (CAR), where they were murdered in July 2018, Russian Investigative Committee Spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko told TASS.

The Investigation Management Center (IMC) web project promised a reward of $20,000 to the Russian journalists if they shoot a documentary in the CAR, considered to be one of ten most dangerous countries in the world. Nevertheless, no protection was provided to the journalists who arrived to the country with tourist visas and did not receive credentials,” Petrenko said.

According to the Russian investigators IMC contacted Cyrill Romanovsky who gave them a telephone number of the so-called fixer who acted under name Martin.

Romanovsky promised to provide accommodation and a driver to the journalists during their stay in Africa. Petrenko underlined that the three arrived to the country’s capital of Bangui on July 28, 2018, which was two days before the planned date, and failed to meet Martin.

Their driver testified that he had met the Russian journalists in one of Bangui’s cafes on the day of their arrival. “Since he knows English and has a pickup truck, the journalists suggested he accompany them on their trips around the country. The fixer named Martin was not involved,Petrenko said, adding that the driver had no connection to the CAR Gendarmerie.

On July 30, 2018, the journalists departed from Bangui to the city of Sibut where they arrived the same night. When they were leaving the city, Central African military servicemen warned them that it was dangerous to travel at nighttime but the Russians continued their trip, saying they were short of time,” the spokesperson explained.

She added that even military patrols preferred to avoid night trips, given the number of armed gangs active in the country. “A group of armed black men who spoke Arabic stopped the car near a village 23 kilometers from Sibut. The attackers ordered everyone to get out of the car and demanded they gave up all of their belongings, photo and video devices. When the Russians refused and tried to resist the attack, they were gunned down, while the driver managed to flee the scene in the car,” Petrenko explained.

According to Petrenko, the investigation sent requests for legal assistance to the Central African Republic’s law enforcement agencies. “The vesicle was examined, witnesses who had seen the journalists in Bangui and Sibut were questioned. All the cars passing through that checkpoint in Sibut are also being checked, as well as those that were present in the area on the night of the murder,” she continued, underlining that the request was partially answered within the capabilities of local authorities.

At his stage the investigation is focused on identification of the murderers of the Russians. “It must be clarified that by initiating media reports on the matter, the Investigation Management Center project clearly seeks to justify the mistakes it made during preparations for the trip, this is why it prefers to put forward its own theories and accuse the innocent,” Petrenko said.

The corpses of three men were found near the city of Sibut (300 km north of Bangui) on July 30. The Russian Foreign Ministry said later that the all three of them had been carrying press cards in the names of Kirill Radchenko, Alexander Rastorguyev and Orkhan Dzhemal.

The Russian Investigative Committee launched a criminal investigation into the murder and sent an investigation team to Africa.

There are reports of rebel activity, banditry and hostage-taking across the country. The situation in the capital, Bangui remains fragile with periodic instances of killings, looting and gunfire. There are armed patrols in Bangui and you will encounter several roadblocks – official and unofficial – that are likely to be manned by armed personnel. Take particular care when approaching these. You are strongly advised not to travel around Bangui especially after dark. You should take extreme care, and travel in groups if possible.” – the UK foreign travel advice warns.
Taking photographs which the authorities deem as damaging the image of the country (street children, people with disabilities) is not permitted.”…You can get a permit for more serious photography from the Ministry of Tourism“. 

One of the world’s poorest countries, the CAR degraded into bloodshed after longtime leader Francois Bozize was overthrown in 2013 by a predominantly Muslim rebel alliance called the Seleka.

The vast territories of the country have succumbed to  violent militant groups. Since the fall of the Bozize, there has been no government control outside of the capital. Armed gangs have set up checkpoints, collect illegal taxes, and cash millions of dollars from the illicit coffee, mineral, and timber trades.

 

 

 

 

Russian journalists killed in CAR

Three Russian journalists were killed in Central African Republic, according to Russian main stream media, in what local authorities said was an ambush by unidentified assailants.

Russian online news organization Investigation Control Centre (TsUR) said in a Facebook post the three journalists — identified as Orhan Dzhemal, Alexander Rastorguyev and Kirill Radchenko — were in the country on assignment.

Russia’s foreign ministry confirmed in a statement that three people with identification documents belonging to Dzhemal, Rastorguyev and Radchenko had been found dead and their bodies had been brought back to the capital Bangui.

“According to information received from the Central African Republic on July 30, three people were killed near the city of Sibut (300 km north of the capital of the CAR, Bangui), carrying only journalistic documents issued under the names Kirill Radchenko, Alexander Rastorguev and Orhan Dzhemal,” the Russian Foreign Ministry reported.

As the ministry stated, the embassy is in contact with the local authorities to prepare the repatriation of bodies to Russia. According to the ministry, the Russian embassy in the Central African Republic was not informed about the presence of the Russian journalists in the country.

The Russian Investigative Committee announced that it had opened a criminal probe into the murder of the Russian journalists in the CAR.

Earlier in the day, AFP news agency reported citing sources close to the investigation, that the bodies of Russian citizens with press cards have been found on a road 23 kilometers (14 miles) from the central town of Sibut.

Press CAR Russia

AMENDMENT: “Most Western governments have issued explicit warnings
against travel to the Central African Republic (CAR)
under any circumstances. Violent crime, such as armed robbery,
aggravated battery, and homicide, are  extremely common.
Large parts of the country are controlled by armed groups
who regularly kidnap, injure, and/or kill civilians.
In the event of unrest, airport, land border, and road closures
may occur with little or no notice. Consular services are often
either extremely limited or non-existent. WARNING! Stay away from CAR
and if you have no choice be sure to exercise war zone safety. (28 May 2018)”

 

RSF: Africa at threshold of ‘promising era’

Africa came with a score that is slightly better than in 2017 but also contained a wide range of internal variation (see our regional analysis The dangers of reporting in Africa).

Frequent Internet cuts, especially in Cameroon (129th) and Democratic Republic of Congo (154th), combined with frequent attacks and arrests are the region’s latest forms of censorship. Mauritania (72nd) suffered the region’s biggest fall (17 places) after adopting a law under which blasphemy and apostasy are punishable by death even if the accused repents.

But a more promising era for journalists may result from the departure of three of Africa’s most predatory presidents, in Zimbabwe (up two as 126th), Angola (up four at 121st) and Gambia, whose 21-place jump to 122nd was Africa’s biggest.