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Diplomat: CAR authorities dissuaded Russian journalists from visiting hot spots

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

MOSCOW, August 1./TASS/. Three Russian journalists killed in the Central African Republic (CAR) ignored the recommendations by local law enforcers and continued to move to a hazardous area violating the curfew, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the Sixty Minutes program broadcast by the Rossiya 1 TV channel.

"Unfortunately, we have evidence and data confirming that when the group left to continue the route at night, it was stopped by local law enforcers. They (journalists) were warned that travelling further was unsafe, because the area controlled by the country’s official authorities ended there," the diplomat noted.

"According to available information, the group did not heed these recommendations and continued its journey," she added.

For her part, Zakharova assured that all necessary assistance would be provided to the relatives of the slain journalists.

The authorities of the Central African Republic (CAR) have dispatched a mission of investigators to the site where the bodies of three Russian journalists were found, Zakharova added. 

"A law enforcement mission was sent today to the site where the bodies were found. It will work there for three days, at least this is what the leadership of that country has told us," the diplomat said.

According to Zakharova, the CAR authorities have pledged the Russian Foreign Ministry that all measures will be taken to shed the light on the death of Russian journalists.

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 Okhran 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 Okhran Dzhemal, cameraman Kirill Radchenko and director Alexander Rastorguyev had been working on a documentary in the CAR.