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Russian Journalists Killed in Central African Republic Ambush, Reports

Journalist Orkhan Dzhemal / Youtube

Three Russian journalists were reportedly killed overnight in the Central African Republic (CAR) by unidentified assailants who ambushed their vehicle.

Journalist Orkhan Dzhemal, cameraman Kirill Radchenko and producer Alexander Rastorguev were killed in the attack, the Media Zona news website reported, citing unnamed sources.

The three men were shooting a documentary film about the Russia-linked Wagner private military contractor, Interfax reported.

"According to the driver's explanations, when they were 23 kilometres (14 miles) from Sibut ... armed men emerged from the bush and opened fire on the vehicle. The three journalists died instantly," Reuters cited Henri Depele, the mayor of Sibut, around 200 km northeast of the capital Bangui, as saying. Their driver survived the attack.

CAR's presidential spokesman Albert Yaloke Mokpeme said the bodies of three people "of European appearance" had been found near Sibut by the army but that he did not know their nationality or profession.

A police source, who requested anonymity, said that authorities found a Russian press identification badge on one of them and airplane tickets for flights from Moscow to Casablanca and Casablanca to Bangui.

Russia has delivered light arms to CAR's security forces this year and deployed hundreds of military and civilian instructors to train them. The country has been ravaged by militia violence since a 2013 rebellion overthrew then-President Francois Bozize.

Reuters contributed to reporting.

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