The journalists were carrying out an investigation into Russian mercenaries in Africa" />

Well-known Russian journalist Orkhan Dzhemal and two colleagues killed in Central African Republic

The journalists were carrying out an investigation into Russian mercenaries in Africa

Novaya Gazeta has reported that journalist Orkhan Dzhemal, cameraman Kirill Radchenko and producer Aleksandr Rastorguev have been killed in the Central African Republic.
French journalists at the scene sent Novaya Gazeta photographs of the deceased’s bodies. One of the photos was of former special correspondent for Novaya Gazeta, Orkhan Dzhemal.
“They were involved in a joint project between Aleksandr Rastorguev and the Investigations Management Centre (IMC) of Mikhail Khodorkovsky,” said journalist Rodion Chepel. “The journalists went to the Central African Republic after receiving information that Russians in military uniforms have occasionally been seen there. The journalists were interested in this. They were the best in their profession [and] very brave boys. They arrived several days ago and spent about three to four days in the republic. They left the capital of Bangui and went west towards the city of Bambari where they ran into a roadblock. The UN and other organizations say that there is a civil war in the country. Every road is a chain of checkpoints and roadblocks. They were stopped at one of them, but what happened next is unknown.”

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Novaya Gazeta that Russian diplomats have gone to identify the bodies. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that they will help the families have the bodies repatriated.

AFP sources say that the three men were killed at a checkpoint by unknown armed individuals. Their bodies were found 23 kilometres from the city of Sibut, and were delivered to a UN base.

“We were doing a joint project on the Central African Republic. They last contacted us two nights ago. It’s hard to speak, really, they were my friends,” the editor in chief of the Investigations Management Centre, Andrey Konyakhin, told the BBC.

The Associated Press, citing an official from the city of Sibut, Marcelen Yoyo, reported that the three men were kidnapped by ‘about 10 people in turbans who spoke only Arabic’.

The official reported that the Russians were killed on the spot, while the driver survived the attack and told the authorities about the event in the morning of 31 July. He added that the special services of the country had warned the Russian journalists that it was not worth heading out when they did ‘because it was already dark out’.

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