A 26-year-old French photojournalist has been killed while documenting the conflict in the Central African Republic, French President François Hollande announced this week. The dead body of freelance photojournalist Camille Lepage was found by French soldiers in a vehicle driven by “anti-balaka” militia fighters.
The “anti-balaka” militants who are mostly Christian are used to combat the Seleka rebels, mostly Muslim, who seized power in March 2013. An aid worker in the region said that on Tuesday morning “anti-balaka” militants were attacked by a group of armed Fulani herdsman, but it is still not clear who killed Lepage.
Camille Lepage worked for a range of media including Reuters, Le Monde, New York Times and the BBC, and had several collaborations with various NGOs such as Human Rights Watch, MSF, ICRC, Amnesty International, Mercy Corps, Handicap International, WFP, Internews, Crown Agents, and Solidarité. Prior to her death she announced on social media that she was travelling with “anti-balaka” militants to Amada Gaza in the western Bouar region of the country near the border with Cameroon, where her body was discovered.
Lepage becomes the first Western reporter killed in the former French colony since France sent troops in Central African Republic in December last year.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called for an immediate investigation into the death of Camille Lepage. “We call on the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic as well as French authorities to ensure a thorough investigation into Camille Lepage’s death,” said in a statement CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita.
Sources: Reuters, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)