The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) has strongly condemned the killing of three Russian veteran investigative reporters in the Central Africa Republic (CAR), and called on the CAR Authorities and the Mission of United Nations in CAR (MINUSCA) to investigate and bring the culprits to book.
“The CAR Government and MINUSCA should investigate and punish the perpetrators of this heinous crime, in order to protect the Safety of Journalists and end the impunity that criminal groups have enjoyed so far in the CAR”, said Abdulwaheed Odusile, President of FAJ.
According to media reports, the three Russian journalists, Orkhan Dzhemal 51, Alexander Rastorguyev 47, and Kirill Radchenko 33, worked for the on-line news outletInvestigation Control Centre (TsUR) focussing on corruption. They arrived in CAR on Friday 27 July and were murdered on Monday 30 July, around 10pm (21:GMT), in an ambush attack by an unidentified armed group near the village of Sibut at about 200km from the capital Bangui.
The project of Investigation Control Center was launched by Mikhail Khodorkovsky a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The three journalists arrived in CAR to investigate activities of the private military company Wagner which is said to be funded by a business person close to Vladimir Putin who has recently deployed forces in CAR and supported the authorities.
The FAJ calls on the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption which runs the AU programme on « Combating Corruption» to express interest in the endeavour by the three Russian journalists to report crossborder activities that has ended up with their assassination. «All should be done to end impunity and protect the safety of journalists.»added Odusile
The FAJ reiterates the call to African Union to fast-tract the setting-up of its mechanism to monitor, prevent, protect the safety of journalists, and end the impunity and allow journalists to work freely in Africa as outlined by the African Union Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression in Africa.
The FAJ represents 50,000 journalists in Africa