Two Spanish journalists were killed during an attack in eastern Burkina Faso, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF). RSF condemns a new tragedy for journalism, the latest reminder of the grave dangers that those attempting to do their journalistic duties in the Sahel face.
According to several security and government sources in Burkina Faso contacted by RSF, veteran war correspondent David Beriain and cameraman Roberto Fraile, both of Spanish nationality, were killed. The journalists were assaulted while reporting with an anti-poaching patrol on the road leading to the Pama Nature Reserve in eastern Burkina Faso on Monday, April 26.
This park is near the “Three Borders” region (Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso), where armed groups active in the Sahel are rampant. The Burkinabè authorities say in a statement that a person of Irish nationality may be among the casualties, but they don’t say how many. According to the same report, the convoy crashed “on a spot occupied by terrorists who opened fire.”
Since the assassination of Radio France International reporters Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon in 2013, the security situation for journalists and media working in the Sahel has not improved. Many parts of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger remain inaccessible, exposing journalists to the worst forms of violence.
This condition also affects those working in the Central African Republic (CAR), where vast swaths of the country are beyond the government’s influence. Orhan Djemal, Kirill Radchenko, and Alexander Rasstorguyev, three Russian journalists investigating the involvement and position of their country’s mercenaries in the CAR, were killed in July 2018 in circumstances that are still unclear.RSF asked for an independent international inquiry to be launched.
Africa remains the most abusive continent against journalists, according to the new World Press Freedom Index, which was released on April 20. Two Spanish journalists were killed in Burkina Faso, bringing the total number of journalists killed on the continent to 33 since 2016, including three since the beginning of the year.
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