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Embassy: Armed robbery behind murder of Russian journalists in Africa

The Russian Investigative Committee has launched a criminal investigation into the case

RABAT. August 1. /TASS/. A robbery assault remains the basic version of the murder of three Russian journalists in the Central African Republic (CAR) early this week, Russia’s embassy to Bangi told TASS on Wednesday.

"We are in close contact with the local law-enforcement agencies and they are providing us with all the necessary information," a Russian diplomat said.

"Both the gendarmerie and the police assured us that everything possible would be done to identify those guilty of this crime," the diplomat stressed.

"As of now, we know that the attack was carried out for the purpose of robbery. About 23 km from the city of Sibut, the vehicle with the Russian journalists was stopped by about ten armed men who started to take away their belongings. Meanwhile, the driver stood aside," the diplomat said.

"After that, gunfire began but it is not clear what provoked it. The driver who has survived continues to be questioned by the CAR gendarmerie," the diplomatic mission said.

The Russian Embassy in the Central African Republic said on Tuesday that three men were found dead near the city of Sibut (300 kilometers north of the CAR’s capital city Bangui) on July 30. The Russian Foreign Ministry later said they had press cards featuring the names Kirill Radchenko, Alexander Rastorguyev and Orkhan Dzhemal.

The Russian Investigative Committee has launched a criminal investigation into the murder. Editor-in-chief of the Ekho Moskvy radio station Alexei Venediktov earlier told TASS that journalist Orkhan Dzhemal, cameraman Kirill Radchenko and director Alexander Rastorguyev had been working on a documentary in the CAR.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova assured that all necessary assistance would be provided to the relatives of the slain journalists.