French PhotoJournalist Found Dead in War-Torn Central African Republic

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FRED DUFOUR/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

It’s a sad day for the journalistic community as they mourn the loss of one of their own after the French presidential office confirmed the tragic loss of French photojournalist Camille Lepage on Tuesday. French troops had found the 26-year-old’s body in a car that was being driven by Christian “anti-balaka” militia fighters near the town of Bouar in the Central African Republic where she was covering the growing sectarian conflict.

Lepage, who’s work has been published in many publications such as The Guardian, the Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal, was one of the first few photojournalists to cover the unrest in the C.A.R between the Muslim rebels Séléka and the anti-balaka.

Her last Instagram photo, posted a week ago, revealed that she was travelling to Amada Gaza with the “anti-balaka” militia:

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CAMILLE LEPAGE/INSTAGRAM

“Travelling with the Anti Balaka to Amada Gaza, about 120km from Berberati, we left at 3.30am to avoid the Misca checkpoints and it took us 8 hours by motorbike as there is no proper roads to reach the village. In the region of Amada Gaza, 150 people were killed by the Seleka between March and now. Another attack took place on Sunday killing 6 people, the anti balaka Colonel Rock decides to send his elements there to patrol around and take people who fled to the bush back to their homes safely.”

There’s no word yet on whether she was caught in a crossfire or murdered. French president Francois Hollande, however, vowed to do everything to shed light on her death amidst the outpouring of emotions expressed by friends and colleagues.

Fellow photographer Andreea Campeanu called her brave, “We worked together in C.A.R., we jumped on the back of pickup trucks together in war-torn South Sudan, and she always got the best photos,” while Jerome Delay of the Associated Press said she was “discreet yet inquisitive” and an “incredible journalist” who has “always been kind of a loner in the sense that she liked to do things by herself. In a way she was not a cowboy. She reminds me a lot of Corinne Dufka. She took the legacy of people like her.”

She was the first Western journalist to get killed while on assignment in the C.A.R. during this violent conflict.

Learn more about Camille Lepage’s work by reading her interview with PetaPixel last year.

Via The New York Times Blog