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Radio Loses Two Journalists

Two Radio France Internationale journalists killed in Mali

Radio France Internationale Radio France Internationale journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon were killed Saturday, Nov. 2 after being kidnapped from Kidal, northern Mali, where they had just completed an interview with a leader of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad.

Cyril Bensimon, an expert on Africa who recently joined the editorial staff of “Le Monde” after having worked for 18 years at RFI, expressed his deep sadness and the immense emotion of all the journalists and citizens of the world.

“What can we say? What can we write under such tragic circumstances? That they were tough, experienced professionals, that they were not hotheads? Of course, Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon knew their job and the risks that go with it, but their deaths raise — with incredible violence — a simple question: do journalists have to give up the most dangerous regions? To answer in the affirmative would mean condemning these zones to be forgotten. No witness, no murder,” he said.

Ghislaine Dupont “never yielded anything and her greatest talent was investigation,” said a colleague from RFI. Claude Verlon was an “outstanding engineer capable of assembling a studio in just 30 minutes, building a satellite link in the most improbable conditions, always asking the same question: ‘when can we leave?’”

Responding to the death of Ghislaine Dupont Malian politician Tiébilé Dramé commented: “I lost my sister. She came to die here at my home, in Mali, in Africa where the dead do not die. She will thus stay with us, in the desert, in Sahel, in the steppe, the savanna. You will sleep in peace with the slumber of the just.”

RFI Director Marie-Christine Saragosse explained that the two journalists had reported on the Mali general elections in August in an effort to transmit the voices of all political protagonists in a spirit of peace. “Our anger only strengthens our determination to not give up and to overcome this inhumanity,” she said.

— Emmanuelle Pautler