- Three Russian journalists reportedly shooting a documentary on a Russian mercenary group were killed on Tuesday in the Central African Republic.
- The journalists’ bodies were found about 14 miles from the city of Sibut, which is about 50 miles from the capital of Bangui.
Three Russian journalists shooting a documentary on the Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary group, were reportedly killed on Tuesday in the Central African Republic, according to TV Rain, a Russian news channel.
Director Alexander Rastorguev, journalist Orhan Djemal and camerman Kirill Radchenko were killed after being detained at a roadblock, according to Agence France Presse.
The journalists’ bodies were found about 14 miles from the city of Sibut, which is about 50 miles from the capital of Bangui, AFP reported. They were apparently driving back to the capital from a town called Kaga Bandoro, which is north of Sibut.
The mayor of Sibut, Henri Depele, told Reuters that armed men “emerged from the bush” and ambushed the journalists.
In shock. @tvrain reporting that one of the Russians killed in the CAR is director Alexander Rastorguev. I used to know Sasha. Apparently he was making a documentary about Wagner mercenaries? I remember how much we laughed the last time I saw him. I don't want to believe this.
— Natalia Antonova (@NataliaAntonova) July 31, 2018
The Central African Republic has been mired in violence for years, with thousands killed and about 500,000 displaced since about 2013.
The government currently controls only about 20% of the country, including Bangui, while the rest is in control of about 15 Christian and Muslim militias.
Russia has recently been helping train government forces and trying to gain influence in the troubled country.
In December, Moscow donated thousands of small arms to Bangui to fight the militia groups, according to the Jamestown Foundation.
Moscow is also trying to gain influence in the milita-controlled areas as well, including the northeastern part of the country, where there are many lucrative mines, Andrew McGregor, director of Aberfoyle International Security, previously told Business Insider.
The Wagner Group has been operating in CAR since at least early January, and McGregor said other Russsian mercenary organizations operate in the country as well.