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Mali - Deaths of two journalists - Statement by Laurent Fabius (November 3, 2013)

Ladies and gentlemen,

The murder in northern Mali yesterday of Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, journalists at Radio France Internationale, is a heinous, despicable and appalling crime.

The French President immediatedly voiced his outrage on France’s behalf and extended his condolences to the family and close friends, and he’s meeting the relevant state officials this morning. Instructions have been given for everything to be done to find the murderers.

Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon were seasoned journalists and they were murdered while doing their job. The President has just had a meeting with RFI’s executives, and I myself will be going to meet the station’s teams late this morning.

I’d like to tell you a number of things we’re currently sure of. The two journalists were in Kidal to prepare an RFI round-up, and they arrived to interview a leader of the MNLA [National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad], which they did. On leaving the interview at exactly 1.10 p.m., they were kidnapped by a small commando unit and taken outside Kidal. Shortly afterwards, their bodies were found, exactly 12 kilometres from Kidal, murdered in cold blood. One had been shot twice, the other three times. Their bodies were found a few metres from the car, which was locked, and no bullet-holes were discovered on the car.

An operation was organized immediately, of course, to find the murderers. The murderers are the ones we’re fighting: that is, the terrorist group who reject democracy and don’t want elections.

The President had a telephone conversation with the Malian President, who repeated to him his determination for the election to go ahead.

Likewise, it must be emphasized that the security of the whole area and of all the neighbouring areas, particularly as regards French nationals, is of course going to be increased.

A crime against journalists is a double crime. It’s a crime against people who, I repeat, were murdered in cold blood under heinous circumstances. But it’s also a crime against the freedom to inform and be informed. That’s why it is all the more important for us to provide you with the details I’ve just given and for the press to do its job.

In these circumstances, there is, at once, considerable shock, an extremely strong sense of outrage and the determination of France to fight terrorism.


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