Three European journalists were killed overnight in Central African Republic (CAR) by unidentified assailants who ambushed their vehicle, the mayor of the nearest town said on Tuesday.
Henri Depele, the mayor of Sibut, around 200 km (125 miles) northeast of the capital Bangui, said two Russian and one Ukrainian were killed at around 10 p.m. (2100 GMT). Their driver survived the attack.
“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,” he said.
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. (Reporting By Crispin Dembassa-Kette and Paul Logerie; Writing by Aaron Ross Editing by Edward McAllister and Matthew Mpoke Bigg)