Claude Verlon: Veteran field reporter and expert engineer
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RFI journalist and sound engineer Claude Verlon was killed in northern Mali on Saturday while on assignment with his colleague Ghislaine Dupont. Verlon, 58, was driven by his passion for a challenge and was known for his love of adventure.
Claude Verlon, a gifted and experienced journalist whose love of a challenge took him to some of the most dangerous corners of the world, including Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq, was killed in northern Mali on Saturday while on assignment in the country for FRANCE 24’s sister station, Radio France Internationale (RFI). He was 58.
Verlon, who was passionate about Africa, had been reporting in the northern Malian town of Kidal with fellow RFI journalist Ghislaine Dupont when the pair were seized by gunmen outside the home of Ambery Ag Rissa, a representative of the Tuareg-led separatist group MNLA. The French foreign ministry later confirmed that both Verlon and Dupont had been killed.
A seasoned sound engineer, Verlon could mount a satellite dish in any conditions and set up a radio studio in any corner of the world. One of Verlon’s greatest fears was that a live report he was responsible for would cut out due to a technical error. He tirelessly went over every detail, running multiple tests the day before a broadcast. “I don’t have the right to make a mistake,” he would say.
While Verlon loved a good challenge, he was never reckless. He was professional to the hilt: thoroughly checking out the situation on the ground before each assignment. He built up a network of contacts in almost every capital around the world. In a dangerous situation he always remained extremely cautious.
Verlon had been to Mali on numerous occasions, most recently with Dupont in August to cover the country’s presidential elections. He was known for his love of adventure and his broad smile.
He first began working at RFI in 1982 and went on to become a senior sound engineer for the company. But most of all, he loved reporting from the field.