Justice for French photojournalist Camille Lepage, murdered in Central African Republic
According to media reports, renowned freelance photojournalist Lepage, 26, had been travelling near the CAR border with Cameroon when she became caught up in fighting. Her body was found when a French patrol stopped a car driven by Christian anti-balaka militia in the Bouar region, a statement said.
Lepage's work covering the conflicts in the CAR and South Sudan has been widely published by a number of major news organisations including the BBC, The New York Times, Le Monde and the AFP. She had also worked for several non-governmental organisations including Amnesty International and Medecins sans Frontieres.
IFJ/EFJ's French affiliates, the SNJ (Syndicate Nationale des Journalistes), the CFDT (Union Syndicale des Journalistes) and the SNJ-CGT (Syndicate National des Journalistes) have offered their condolences to Lepage's family and colleages and paid tribute to her incredible commitment to her profession and to ensuring the truth was told.
“We are deeply saddened and angered at the tragic loss of the highly respected young journalist Camille Lepage and we offer our heartfelt condolences to her colleagues and loved ones,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha.
“We appeal for the government of the Central African Republic, as well as the French and other international forces based there, to immediately take every step necessary to find the perpetrators of this appalling act and bring them to swift and full justice.”
Lepage's death comes as security in the CAR is becoming increasingly precarious. Last week the IFJ issued a statement condemning the brutal murder of two local journalists, Désiré Sayenga and René Padou, who succumbed to the injuries they suffered during an attack by armed youths on 29 April.
The tragic incident has occurred six months after two French journalists were killed in Mali. Radio reporter Ghislaine Dupont and sound technician Claude Verlon, who were recording a special programme for Radio France Internationale (RFI ) in the run up to the Malian elections, were kidnapped and murdered in Kidal, in north eastern Mali, on Saturday, 2 November, 2013.
The IFJ and the EFJ have reiterated their call for authorities in the country to step up protection for journalists, while also urging media professionals covering events to remain vigilant and protect their safety at all times.