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Three Russian journalists dead in Central African Republic reportedly killed by attackers speaking Arabic

Meduza

The three Russian journalists killed in the Central African Republic on July 30 apparently died while trying to resist attackers wearing turbans who wanted to seize their vehicle, according to the country’s Communications Ministry.

In a statement posted on Facebook, officials said the attackers spoke neither French nor Sango (CAR’s two national languages). The journalists’ driver was also shot and wounded, but he survived and fled. They were attacked roughly 32 kilometers (20 miles) outside the town of Sibut. The only identification reportedly discovered on the journalists’ bodies was a single “blogger” card. A Sibut deputy official told The Associated Press that the journalists “were kidnapped by about 10 men, all turbaned and speaking only Arabic.”

On July 30, reporter Orkhan Dzhemal, director Alexander Rastorguyev, and cameraman Kirill Radchenko were murdered in the Central African Republic, while collecting documentary evidence of Russian mercenaries’ activities in the country.

According to the newsletter The Bell, the journalists planned to film the giant Ndassima gold mine, which is reportedly being developed by the company “Lobaye Invest” and guarded by the “Wagner” private military company — both companies associated with Evgeny Prigozhin (the same catering magnate with close Kremlin ties and his own “troll factory”). Lobaye Invest supposedly “represents Russia’s interests” in CAR. The journalists apparently planned to meet with a member of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic, who was supposed to help them get access to the mines.

On Thursday, August 2, Russia’s Investigative Committee questioned Anastasia Gorshkova, the deputy chief editor of the “Investigations Management Center,” which organized the three journalists’ trip to CAR. According to Andrey Konyakhin, the head of the center, Gorshkova has been named as a witness in the investigation into the three deaths. Russian officials say they are exploring the possibility of sending “experienced investigators and forensic experts to conduct separate investigative actions.”