Foreign Ministry: patrol dissuaded journalists who died in CAR from continuing their trip
A spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry said that journalists along with the driver tried to get to the Berega training base, where Russian instructors train local military personnel but they were turned away due to the lack of the permission from the CAR Ministry of Defense.
The official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova, said that the employees of the Russian embassy talked to the driver who was transporting the film crew which was killed last week in the CAR, RBC reports.
As Zakharova reports the driver's words, he met the journalists on July 29 in one of Bangui's cafes where they offered to “accompany them on their own car for 10 days.”
The Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman said that the journalists along with the driver tried to get to the Berega training base, where Russian instructors train local military personnel but were turned away due to the lack of the permission from the CAR Ministry of Defense.
On July 30 at about 11 am, they drove to Bambari, on the way making a stop in the city of Damara, where they filmed for several hours. After that, they asked the driver to take them to the city of Dekoa, which is located north of the planned route.
According to Zakharova, at 6.30 pm, a patrol stopped them in Sibut and “strongly recommended” not to go further. “However, the journalists insisted on their own and, referring to the fact that they were in a rush, got into an argument with the patrol,” the Foreign Ministry spokesman said. As a result, the patrol agreed to let them drive further. The attack on the film crew took place at 8.20 om local time. Later, RBC corrected the time of the attack to the time interval between 8 and 9 pm. According to the driver, said Zakharova, they fell victims of a looting attack.
The representative of the Foreign Ministry also told that the republican authorities found a laptop and a phone of one of the killed Russian journalists. Now they are preparing a request to the local mobile operator to provide information on the calls and messages from this device, reports Interfax.
Earlier, a source of Mediazona said that the employees of the Russian Investigative Committee arrived in the CAR and questioned the driver arrested in the capital of the country Bangui. In response, the embassy of the CAR said that the staff of the ICR has not yet arrived in the CAR, but, according to Zakharova, the local authorities are ready to provide the investigators from Russia with a trip to the site of the murder.
The deaths of journalist Orkhan Jemal, cameraman Kirill Radchenko and director Alexander Rastorguev in the CAR transpired on July 31. They went to the CAR to make a film about the Wagner PMC.
Initially, the defendants in the case had been charged with embezzlement through swindling in the amount of 225 million rubles ($3.3 million). In the final version of the indictment, the article was changed to 1.5-billion-ruble ($22.45 million) embezzlement.