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Killing Journalists RFI Mali

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RFI's murdered journalists - President Macron called upon for action

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Colleagues and relatives of Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon seek the truth (pictured here at a memorial gathering in 2017). BERTRAND GUAY / AFP

Calls mount on President Macron to reveal the truth behind the murders of RFI journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon five years ago in Mali.

 


Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, RFI's journalists who were kidnapped and murdered in Mali in 2013 ©RFI

On 2 November 2013, RFI’s Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon were kidnapped and killed while on a field assignment in northern Mali.

Five years on, we are still in the dark concerning the motives and the circumstances of the killings.

Documents concerning the incident remain classified, and the French government has been reluctant in pursuing the affair further.

Family and friends of the two murdered journalists called on President Macron on Friday to act immediately to uncover the truth behind the killings.

Read RFI's article on the questions that remain over Dupont and Verlon's murder

Secret documents have been twice declassified, and a French judge visited Bamako earlier this year, but essential questions still remain unanswered.

Reporters without Borders (RSF) and well-wishers of Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon (13 January2016). RSF

Family and relatives seek the truth

For friends and colleagues of the two journalists, the memory of November 2, 2013 still runs deep.

Marie-Solange Poinsot, Dupont’s mother, told RFI that not knowing what happened makes her believe sometimes that her daughter will return.

“I know it’s been five years,… But I don’t count the days, I just see time passing. When it happened, I was 83. I’m 88 now. I keep on telling myself that my ‘Gisou’ was alive at 1pm, and one and a half hours later, she wasn’t there anymore. It’s horrible. I fear the worst, and I’d really like to know the truth”.

Apolline Verlon, Claude Verlon’s daughter, shares the same pain.

“The more time goes by, the more we are separated from them. It’s difficult to grieve when one doesn’t know what actually happened. When so many questions remain, the imagination runs wild and it’s very difficult to have forclosure", she told RFI.

Reading poetry to remember Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, Maison de la Poésie, 2018 Pierre Marchal

Sunlight in the darkness - the Ghislaine Dupont-Claude Verlon scholarship

Two initiatives have kept Ghislaine and Claude's memory alive.

In memory of Dupont and Verlon, the United Nations declared 2 November as an international day to condemn impunity for those who commit crimes against journalists.

RFI's head Cecile Megie with a participant of the 2018 Ghislaine Dupont-Claude Verlon scholarship in Côte d'Ivoire La boîte à idées

Secondly, RFI's parent company France Médias Monde launched a scholarship in 2014 in memory of the two journalists.

The Ghislaine Dupont-Claude Verlon scholarship rewards a journalist and a technician from the African subcontinent each year for the quality of their work.

The scholarship is preceded by workshops run by France Médias Monde staff.

This year, the session was held in Côte d'Ivoire. Previous sessions were held in Mali, Madagascar, Benin and Senegal.

“One had to do transform the pain into something constructive”, Marie-Christine Saragosse, France Médias Monde's CEO, told RFI.

“This will let a bit of sunlight into the darkness. The darkness will always be there, but [this scholarship] lets in a bit of sun”, she said.