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French photojournalist killed in Central African Republic

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Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-05-16

A 26-year-old French photographer was killed while working in the Central African Republic, the French presidency announced Tuesday. A native of Angers, Camille Lepage had been based in Juba, South Sudan, since July 2012.

Lepage had been covering the crisis in the Central African Republic as a freelancer for several months, the Élysée Palace said in a statement.

French army spokesman Gilles Jaron said a French patrol along a road leading from the capital Bangui into Cameroon discovered five bodies in one vehicle, including that of Lepage. He said her body was being transferred to the capital.

A dozen individuals have been arrested and are being questioned by both the African-led MISCA force and the French military, Jaron said.

Peter Bouckaert of the Human Rights Watch office in Bangui told FRANCE 24 that Lepage had been reporting from an area near the border with Cameroon over the past 10 days and was probably killed in an ambush.

She called her photographic work-in-progress in the country, “On est ensemble” (a phrase often used in Francophone Africa to say goodbye but which literally means, "We are together").

Covering the 'marginalised'

Lepage was recently selected for a prestigious New York Times portfolio review and workshop.

A native of Angers in western France, she had been based in Juba, South Sudan, since July 2012, when she relocated aiming "to explore her new passion and the newest country on the planet".

Much of her work focused on South Sudan's Nuba people and how their traditional African way of life has been altered by Khartoum's imposition of sharia law in South Kordofan, a region that aid agencies are forbidden from entering.

"Aerial bombardments by Khartoum have become the daily life of the Nuba," she wrote.

Lepage's "main interest" was in the world’s marginalised populations, which are so often forgotten by their own governments, she said on her website.

Her work has been published in The New York Times, Le Monde, TIME, The Guardian, the BBC, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, among others.

She had also worked in connection with several NGOs including Human Rights Watch, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), the International Red Cross and Amnesty International.

A statement from the office of French President François Hollande said he had requested the immediate dispatch of a French team to the location of the tragedy in order to work with the local authorities.

"All necessary measures will be used to shed light on the circumstances of her murder and find those responsible for the death of our compatriot," the Elysée said.

A judicial source in Paris said that an investigation would be launched into her death.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)

Date created : 2014-05-13


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