Russian journalists killed in Central African Republic

China and Russia are gaining greater influence in the Central African Republic as that of Western countries wanes analysts say

China and Russia are gaining greater influence in the Central African Republic as that of Western countries wanes analysts say

Three Russian journalists investigating the activities of a Russian paramilitary organization in the Central African Republic were ambushed and killed, their news outlet and local authorities say.

The three men visited a base used by Russian mercenaries near Sibut on Sunday, the day after they arrived in the country, said Anastasia Gorshkova, deputy editor of the Investigation Control Center, which is funded by Khodorkovsky.

A picture taken on Aug.1, 2018 shows flowers left in front of the photographs of Russian journalists (from left) Alexander Rastorguyev, Kirill Radchenko and Orkhan Dzhemal, who were recently killed in the Central African Republic, outside the Central House of Journalists.

The bodies were found in a bullet-ridden auto near Sibut (about 300 kilometers from Bangui, the capital), according to the U.N. Mission in the Central African Republic. The Associated Press reported the men were kidnapped by about 10 men wearing turbans and speaking Arabic.

Sources told the news service that Wagner was controlled by Yevgeny Prigozhin - known as "Putin's Cook" because one of his companies, Concord Management, provides chow to the Kremlin.

Konyakhin said the journalists were traveling to northern vehicle to speak with a United Nations representative and carrying several thousand dollars in cash and valuable equipment such as cameras when they were attacked. He also said the reporters were about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from their planned route when they were killed.

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Russian investigators said they have opened a criminal case to look into the deaths.

A team of United Nations police from MINUSCA traveled to Sibut Wednesday to support national police in the investigation, he said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on July 31 confirmed that three people with identification documents belonging to Dzhemal, Rastorguyev, and Radchenko were found dead and their bodies were brought back to the capital, Bangui.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a journalism advocacy group, said given the volatility of the country, it was plausible that the journalists had been victims of a financially motivated attack - although other motives were possible. But Konyakhin, the editor, was skeptical the slayings resulted from a mere robbery. "If they could have just taken everything from them, why kill them?"

In what the United Nations ranks as the world's poorest country, where most state institutions crumbled after the coup, President Faustin-Archange Touadera governs with support from a United Nations peacekeeping mission of 14,000 personnel who face a near impossible task of shielding civilians from armed groups roaming the countryside.

The three journalists, who were commissioned by Russian online news organization Investigation Control Centre to make the documentary, died in an ambush by unidentified assailants on Monday, Reuters said, quoting local authorities. The nation saw a period of relative peace in late 2015 and 2016, but the violence intensified and spread in the past year.

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