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France - Mali

Enquiry underway into killing of two RFI journalists in Mali

Claude Verlon (crouching) with Ghislaine Dupont (R) in Mali in July
Claude Verlon (crouching) with Ghislaine Dupont (R) in Mali in July RFI

The bodies of the two RFI journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon have been taken back to the Malian capital, Bamako, and are due to be flown back to France later on Monday.

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The two journalists were killed after being captured on Saturday in Kidal in northern Mali.

Meanwhile official enquiries have been launched in both Paris and Bamako is to try to find out what happened.

An operation is reportedly underway to try to track down suspects.

Claude Verlon and Ghislaine Dupont were killed by several bullets, their bodies were found in the scrubland near the locked car in which they were apparently transported.

French experts are on the way to Mali to examine the car.

In Kidal, several sources claim that a helicopter was overheard above the town after the abduction of the two journalists.

This contradicts statements by the French army Chief of Staff in Mali, saying that the abductors were not spotted from the sky because there were no aircraft in the area.

The army says that the helicopters which were mobilised took off from Tessalit, 250 kilometres away, and took one and a half hours to get to Kidal.

This would make it unlikely that the hostages overheard helicopters overhead and in panic might have decided to kill the hostages, as some suggest.

Meanwhile the enquiry continues on the ground. The French and Malian armies have begun operations to “identify a certain number of people in camps” the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius, told RTL French radio station today.

Laurent Fabius said there were indications which should help to trace the killers.

A man was seen trying to flee the scene of the killings as the French soldiers drew near to the bodies.

According to RFI, several suspects have been arrested, more than 40 kilometres east of Kidal.


RFI wishes to express its thanks for the thousands of tributes to Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, received from listeners at this email address:

rfihommage@gmail.com

 

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