“Suspects have been questioned” in the killings of French journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, France’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, said Monday. Fabius wouldn’t confirm a report that French troops had five people in custody, Reuters reports, but he told RTL that French and Malian troops were hunting for the journalists’ killers.
Dupont and Verlon worked for Radio France Internationale, which remembers both journalists: Dupont spent nearly three decades in the region and was once deported from Congo while reporting on elections there. “Even then she continued to report on the DRC from Paris and her stories shed light on the fractures between Paris and Kinshasa, resulting in RFI being banned from the airwaves in the country for over a year,” RFI notes.
Verlon, who was a sound engineer as well as a reporter, “could set up a radio studio – even in a hut or on the top of the Parliament in Bucharest, Romania,” RFI says. “His greatest fear was losing signal on a live report and he would often say, ‘I don’t have the right to make a mistake.’”
The pair were killed Saturday in Northern Mali after interviewing the head of a separatist movement in the region, Rukmini Callimachi reports. A branch of Al-Qaida also operates in area, and has “bankrolled their operations by kidnapping Westerners, especially French nationals,” Callimachi writes.