They shot a film about the “Wagner” PMC when they were attacked for the purpose of robbery.
The attack occurred in the Central African Republic (CAR), more precisely – 20-25 kilometers from the city of Sibu. Journalists moved from the capital of Bangui in the direction of the city of Bambari. According to the approximate map “Medusa”, they drove about half way from the base of Russian instructors.
The source of “Media Zone” noted that the deceased were traveling with expensive equipment to meet their consultant. According to the preliminary version, they were attacked for the purpose of robbing one of the roadblocks. Have you lost valuable things or equipment, it is unknown. The UN confirmed the death of journalists. Mayor Sibiu also stated that the driver of the journalists survived and told how the armed people from the bushes opened fire on them. The ambush was arranged on the night of July 31, the Russians were killed immediately .
According to the BBC report , in the CARs there is a civil war between Muslim groups and the Christian militia, and also regularly attack humanitarian workers. The media wrote that after a bilateral agreement, Russia began to expand its military presence in the republic.
Three people – journalist Orhan Dzhemal, director Alexander Rastorguev and cameraman Kirill Radchenko. The death of the first confirmed several journalists, including the chief editor of Echo of Moscow Alexei Venediktov, as well as his wife , who identified the body from the photograph.
The death of Alexander Rastorguev and Cyril Radchenko was confirmed later. Their colleagues were asked not to make hasty conclusions and wait for identification. A spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, stated that the diplomats had left for identification on the base of the UN mission in the CAR.
The reaction of authorities and colleagues
The official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Maria Zakharova stated that the Investigation Committee was engaged in checking the death of Russians. She added that the Russian embassy in the CAR did not receive requests for help in filming the film from journalists. The UK initiated a case of the murder of three Russians in the CAR under Article 105 of the Criminal Code (murder).
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the dead were journalists Radchenko, Dzhemal and Rastorguev. Their bodies have already been taken to the city of Bangui.
The Russian embassy in the CAR, unfortunately, was not informed about the presence of Russian journalists on the territory of the country. Employees of our diplomatic mission are now in close contact with local law enforcement agencies and government agencies to find out all the circumstances of the death of Russian citizens and conduct activities to send bodies to their homeland. We express our condolences to the families and friends of the deceased and are ready to provide their families with the necessary support
Immediately after the appearance of the news of the TASS Russians who died in Africa, referring to a source in the Russian embassy , they reported that the deceased had found Izvestia’s press cards. The publication did not confirm this information, saying that not a single employee had been on the territory of the Republic in recent months.
In the first year of the Aurora Prize, one of the finalists was a priest from the CAR. We with the guys from the “Stereotactik” have already agreed with the UN troops on escort and were supposed to fly to Bangui (the capital of this accursed place). I monitored the news before departure, the last one I remember: “On a bus in the capital, a crowd of Christians attacked a Muslim, drew them outside and burned them. One of the attackers cut off his dead leg and ate it. ”
At the last moment the organizing committee decided not to send us to shoot the video and confine ourselves to editing from archival materials. Probably, we were saved by life.
What a terrible tragedy with the death of Rastorguev, Dzhemal and Radchenko in the CAR. With Rastorguev I was well acquainted, Radchenko traveled from us as an observer to Chechnya. I do not personally know Jemal, but of course I know from his journalistic work. Good, brave people and professionals. Everlasting memory.
Always amazed at the insulting gap between the risk and difficulty of such trips and the relatively small interest of readers and viewers to them: “What’s there in Libya, my Postum, or where there …”. (True, this did not concern close wars, like the Ossetian one). But I, as a teenager, have not lost touch with the world map, I understand why he went to the place where history occurs.
I myself, when the opportunity arose, began to travel to such places, although never really dangerous. Orkhan is a case of being captured by reporter, a documentary description of the present as poetry by poets or composers by music. Logically correctly that he and his colleagues were there, it is illogical and terrible that he died.
What journalists did
Sources of “Rain” in the “Center for Investigation Management” were the first to report that Orhan Djemal, along with Rastorguev and Radchenko, went to Africa to make a film about the Russian military. This was confirmed by Jemal’s friend and journalist Maxim Shevchenko, adding that he discouraged him.
The editor-in-chief of Echo of Moscow Alexei Venediktov said that he discussed with Jamal the accreditation from the radio station for the filming of the film. A friend of the journalist explained that the preparations for filming lasted about six months and the last time he contacted was July 29.
- Orhan Dzhemal is the son of the head of the Islamic Committee of Russia, Heydar Jemal. As a journalist and reporter, he collaborated with Novaya Gazeta, Versiya, Newsweek and Izvestia. He was imprisoned in Somalia, covered theprotests in Iran, was badly injured in Libya.
- Alexander Rastorguev – one of the famous Russian documentary filmmakers. He created a documentary project “Term” on opposition protests in 2011-2012, as well as projects “Lenta.doc” and “Reality”.
- Cyril Radchenko – an operator who worked with ANNA News agency and on the Internet series “Area of Darkness”. Journalist Alexandra Baeva told “Medusa” that Radchenko worked as an operator in Syria and an observer in Chechnya.
What is “Wagner” PMC
The “Wagner” PMC, also known as the “Wagner Group”, is a private military group under the command of Dmitry Utkin. Funding organizations, according to the media, engaged in St. Petersburg restaurateur Eugene Prigogine. In 2014-2015, about 500 military “Wagner” could participate in the fighting in the territory of the People’s Republic of China and the People’s Republic of Germany.
According to a RBC study conducted in August 2016, the work of PMCs in Syria cost 10.3 billion rubles, which were received from the budget and from “high-ranking businessmen.” Novaya Gazeta reported that mercenaries, including those from the Wagner group, appeared in the CAR in early 2018. It is not known exactly what they were doing, but according to the journalists – by the protection of the president of the country and by the instruction of the local military. This is also confirmed byindependent researchers from CIT.
Officially, the Russian government or the Russian Foreign Ministry has never recognized that the state uses mercenary military personnel.