1. Camille Lepage, a 26-year-old award winning French photojournalist, has died while reporting in the Central African Republic, the French government said Tuesday. The exact details of her death remain unclear.
Lepage is the first foreign journalist to die in the Central African Republic (CAR) since the current conflict broke out last spring, when fighting between rival political factions spiraled into widespread religious and ethnic violence. Two Central African journalists were also killed in the capital, Bangui, this month.
Lepage’s body was found by French peacekeeping troops in a car belonging the anti-Balaka, or Christian militia fighters. “All necessary means will be deployed to shine light on the circumstances of this assassination and find the killers of our compatriot,” France’s President said in a statement, alluding to claims that she had been targeted.
Lepage spent months documenting CAR’s political and humanitarian crises. She worked as a freelance journalist and her pictures have been published in major U.S. and French newspapers. Most recently, she had embedded herself with a group of anti-Balaka fighters, according to her last tweets.
In an interview with the photography blog PetaPixel, she explained: “I want the viewers to feel what the people are going through, I’d like them to empathize with them as human beings, rather than seeing them as another bunch of Africans suffering from war somewhere in this dark continent,” she said. “I wish they think: ‘Why on Earth are those people in living hell; why don’t we know about it and why is no one doing anything?’ I would like the viewers to be ashamed of their government for knowing about it without doing anything to make it end.”
According to the U.N., some 650,000 people have been displaced by violence in CAR, while nearly 300,000 more have fled to neighboring countries for safety. On April 10, the U.N. Security Council authorized to send U.N. peacekeeping troops to CAR to help stop the violence, though they will not arrive until September.
3. Here are some of Lepage’s final photos from CAR:
A girl in the Central African Republic’s capital of Bangui on March 9, 2014.
A man tries to fix the satellite at a local public television hall in Bangui on March 9.
Soldiers and new Central African Armed Forces (FACA) recruits at at a temporary military base in Bangui on March 10.
Vendors selling French baguettes at an open air market in Bangui on March 9.
Models backstage during a fashion show in Bangui to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8.
A woman in a camp for displaced people at M’poko International Airport in Bangui on Feb. 26.
A mother and her child, who suffers from malnutrition, at a paediatrics hospital in Bangui on Feb. 25.
A Seleka fighter reads a book while holding a gun on a base in Bangui on Feb. 25.
Anti-balaka fighters patrol in the Boeing district of Bangui on Feb. 24.
A Muslim boy seeks refuge in a Koranic school in Bangui on Feb. 24.
Anti-balaka fighters on patrol in Bangui on Feb. 24.