Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • Live: France says missing Algerian plane 'probably crashed'

    Read more

  • 51 French nationals aboard missing Algerian plane

    Read more

  • Algerian jet vanishes: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Deadly Israeli strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death arrives in Italy

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

Africa

France says RFI journalists ‘assassinated in cold blood’

© Pierre René-Worms / Laurent Fabius at RFI's Paris office on Sunday

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-11-03

France’s foreign minister has accused “terrorist groups” of murdering journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon in northern Mali. A French army spokesman said the troops who found their bodies had no contact with the attackers.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Sunday morning that Radio France Internationale journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon were “assassinated in cold blood” by the very “terrorist group” France has been battling in Mali.

Fabius confirmed that the two French nationals were abducted in the northern Malian town of Kidal by a small team of gunmen shortly after 1pm on Saturday, following an interview with a local leader of the MNLA separatist Tuareg group.

“Shortly afterwards, their bodies were discovered exactly 12km from Kidal, assassinated in cold blood,” he said. “One of them was shot twice, the other three times. Their bodies were found metres away from the car, which was locked and showed no impact from bullets.”

French forces had ‘no contact’ with kidnappers

Fabius’s comments appeared to confirm official reports that French forces stationed in Mali did not see or confront the gunmen who abducted and killed the two journalists.

Bodies of RFI journalists killed in Mali transferred to Bamako

The bodies of Radio France Internationale journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon were transferred from the northern Malian town of Kidal to the capital Bamako on Sunday, where they will remain until they are repatriated to France as soon as Monday.

“Our forces had no visual or physical contact with the kidnappers’ moving vehicle”, Armed Forces spokesman Colonel Gilles Jarron said.

Some reports had mentioned a helicopter being sighted near Kidal, prompting speculation that the kidnappers may have been chased by the French army when the murders took place.

But Col. Jarron said the two French helicopters involved in the rescue operation took off from Tessalit, 250km north of Kidal, and arrived on the scene 50 minutes after a ground patrol had found the bodies.

He added that he did not know who had carried out the abduction and murders.

Security stepped up in Mali’s troubled north

Veteran journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon were reportedly kidnapped outside the home of Ambery Ag Rissa, a local Tuareg leader.

On Saturday, Ag Rissa told FRANCE 24 and RFI that he heard a strange noise outside his home after being interviewed by Dupont and Verlon. He then saw armed men take the two journalists into a jeep and was forced to go back into his house after threats from the kidnappers.

The journalists’ driver told RFI he was forced to lie on the ground and heard his passengers protest and resist the gunmen.

Their abduction and murder took place on the second day of a national forum on the future of Mali’s troubled northern region in the capital Bamako.

“The assassins are terrorist groups that are rejecting democracy and elections,” Foreign Minister Fabius said on Sunday.

The minister added that security measures to protect French nationals would be stepped up in the region.

France has nearly 3,000 troops in Mali under Operation Serval, which began last February.

Since October 20, they have been taking part in a joint offensive with Malian and UN forces with support from the French air force “to prevent the resurgence of potential terrorist movements” in northern Mali, according to the defence ministry.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-11-03

  • FRANCE - MALI

    Hollande holds crisis talks on French reporters' murder

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Shock and anger at French journalists' murder in Mali

    Read more

  • MALI

    Two French radio journalists killed in northern Mali

    Read more

COMMENT(S)