Attacks on the Press 1999: 1999 Death Toll: Listed by Country

[Click here for full list of documented cases]


At its most fundamental level, the job of a journalist is to bear witness. In 1999, journalists in Sierra Leone witnessed rebels' atrocities against civilians in the streets of Freetown. In the Balkans, journalists watched ethnic Albanians fleeing the deadly menace of Serbian police and paramilitaries. In Indonesia, they recorded the violence of Indonesian-backed militias against supporters of political independence. Some who wrote about what they witnessed ended up dying because of the stories they told.


Of the 34 journalists murdered for their work in 1999 (the number was up from 24 a year earlier), 10 were killed in Sierra Leone. Most of the latter died at the hands of Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels, who entered the capital, Freetown, in January with target lists of journalists whose reporting was deemed "anti-RUF." On a single day, January 9, the RUF hunted down four "enemy" journalists, killing each in cold blood. Within 10 days, rebels had killed a total of eight journalists. Some were murdered in front of family members. The family of editor Paul Mansaray died with him when rebels set his home on fire and then fired their weapons into the burning house.

Why did the RUF target journalists so ruthlessly? Because it is the press that informs the world about atrocities, mass murders, corruption, official malfeasance. In Sierra Leone, news reports on rebels' atrocities provided crucial evidence against rebel leaders whose soldiers had killed or maimed thousands of civilians. In the absence of witnesses and their reports, it is far easier for armed factions such as the RUF to hide the truth.

Although journalists died for their work last year in every region that CPJ monitors, Sierra Leone, where 10 journalists were killed, was by far the most dangerous country. Six more journalists lost their lives in Yugoslavia: three killed in a NATO bombing, two hit by sniper fire, and one, a newspaper publisher, apparently assassinated in cold blood for his outspoken criticism of President Slobodan Milosevic. Of the four journalists killed in Colombia, three were probably targeted by right-wing factions in the violence that has torn that country apart for decades, and one cameraman died during a left-wing guerrilla attack.

Since the end of the cold war, new civil conflicts have erupted all over the world, increasing the danger for journalists. Some news organizations, recognizing the risks, now use private training services to prepare their correspondents for the field.

But there is less protection from the risk that a journalist takes when his or her reporting reveals discomfiting truths or atrocities that one armed faction or another will want to hide by silencing the witness.

In addition to the 34 murders documented here, CPJ lists another 19 journalists whose deaths are still being researched. In these 19 cases, there is reason to suspect that the murders occurred in reprisal for the journalists' work, but CPJ was unable to confirm this as of our deadline.

Some will question CPJ's decision not to include on this list some or all of the 16 employees of Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS) who were killed in April when NATO bombers hit RTS headquarters in Belgrade. CPJ defends all journalists, regardless of the views they express, and we have an extremely broad definition of who is a journalist. This encompasses both state and private broadcasters. But when a state broadcaster becomes an integral part of an ethnic cleansing campaign, as RTS was during the decade of nationalist wars in the Balkans, it falls outside our extremely broad definition of journalism. So we have not included the names of the RTS employees on our list of journalists killed during the year. However, under international humanitarian law an attack on a civilian target can only be justified if that target is being used for a military purpose. RTS was not used for such a purpose during the Kosovo conflict, and therefore we do not believe that NATO's attack on RTS was justified under the Geneva Conventions. CPJ condemned the attack in an April 23 letter to NATO General Secretary Javier Solana.

A word about how we research this list: The number of journalists killed in the line of duty each year is probably the world's most frequently cited press freedom statistic. CPJ thoroughly investigates each report of a journalist killed in order to determine whether the journalist was killed because of his or her profession. Journalists caught in the crossfire while covering combat are included along with journalists specifically targeted for assassination. Our criteria define journalists as people who cover the news or comment on public affairs, in print, in photographs, on radio, on television, or online. Reporters, writers, editors, publishers, and directors of news organizations are all counted. But we do not classify a case as confirmed until we are sure that the death was related to the victim's journalistic work.

The following list describes all the murders of journalists killed in 1999 that CPJ was able to document. Information on each of these murders can also be found in the case histories that follow the essay on the country where the murder occurred.





1999 DEATH TOLL: LISTED BY COUNTRY




ARGENTINA: 1

Ricardo Gangeme, El Informador Chubutense, May 13, 1999, Trelew


A gunman shot and killed Gangeme, 56, editor and publisher of the weekly magazine El Informador Chubutense, in the town of Trelew, in Chubut Province. At 1:28 a.m., as Gangeme was parking his Chevrolet in front of his apartment, a man shot him point-blank in the head with a .38 caliber pistol. A police officer who heard the shot arrived at the scene within a few minutes. Witnesses saw a man fleeing the scene on foot. Gangeme's wallet, which contained checks and a large sum of money, was not taken, which made robbery an unlikely motive.

Gangeme founded El Informador Chubutense in 1992. Since then, the weekly has become well known for denouncing corruption and revealing intimate details of the lives of local authorities and businessmen. According to local press reports, Gangeme's hard-hitting journalism earned him many enemies. A total of six suspects had been placed in so-called preventive detention at year's end; their trial was expected in mid-2000.

COLOMBIA: 5

Hernando Rangel Moreno, free-lancer, April 11, 1999, El Banco

Rangel, a free-lance journalist who worked for the newspaper Sur 30 Días as well as local radio stations in El Banco, in Magdalena Department, was shot four times in the head while watching a late-night boxing match on television.

Local sources told CPJ that the journalist regularly denounced administrative corruption in the office of Mayor Fidias Zeider Ospino Fernández. Just prior to his death, the journalist had organized a community protest against the mayor. Local reporters seemed wary of volunteering any information in a climate that has become increasingly dangerous, making it difficult for CPJ to confirm when and where Rangel had published his articles. Rangel was attacked in 1996 while covering community affairs for a local radio station, according to local journalists.

A case was formally begun against Ospino Fernández on December 7, according to the attorney general's office, which confirmed that Rangel had published critical stories about the mayor. A few days later, Ospino Fernández was arrested and charged with having ordered Rangel's murder. Ospino Fernández is currently in jail, pending trial.


Jaime Garzón, Radionet, Caracol Noticias, August 13, 1999, Bogotá

Two gunmen killed political satirist Jaime Garzón, host of a daily morning show on the Bogotá station Radionet and contributor to a television news program called "Caracol Noticias." At 6 a.m., as Garzón was driving his Jeep Cherokee to the Radionet studio, two men on a white motorcycle intercepted him, shooting him repeatedly in the head and chest.

Before his death, Garzón had frequently been threatened by Carlos Castaño, leader of the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), a right-wing paramilitary organization that is fighting against leftist guerrillas. Garzón's colleagues informed CPJ that the journalist had scheduled a meeting with Castaño for August 14, the day after he was killed.

The AUC denied responsibility for Garzón's death, and it is still not clear who ordered the murder. While some local journalists blame the AUC, others blame drug traffickers or the military. The likely motive would have been Garzón's contacts with left-wing guerrilla forces.

Before launching his career as a journalist and satirist 10 years ago, Garzón served as an elected official in Sumapaz, a region near Bogotá that is dominated by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Colombia's largest leftist guerrilla movement. More recently, Garzón used his stature as a well-respected broadcaster to negotiate for the release of victims of guerrilla kidnappings. He also served on an independent commission that was mediating between the government and the National Liberation Army (ELN), another leftist guerrilla movement, and was scheduled to meet with imprisoned ELN members.

On January 6, 2000, authorities arrested Juan Pablo Agudelo, alias "Bochas," whom a witness identified as one of Garzón's killers. Ortiz Agudelo is affiliated with a group of some 300 paid assassins known as "La Terraza," which has often been hired by drug traffickers and the paramilitary AUC. He is currently awaiting trial.


Guzmán Quintero Torres, El Pilón, September 16, 1999, Valledupar

Two assassins on a motorcycle shot and killed Quintero, editor of the daily newspaper El Pilón in the northern town of Valledupar. At 10:00 p.m., Quintero was seated in Los Cardones Hotel and Restaurant, where he often stopped on his way home from work. He was relaxing with two colleagues from the newspaper when a single assassin entered the hotel and shot the journalist four times before escaping on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice.

Quintero was the cofounder of the Journalists' Club of Valledupar. He was also the local correspondent for "Televista," a news program on the regional channel Telecaribe, and a professor at the National Correspondence University.

On September 29, police arrested two suspects, Jorge Espinal Velásquez and Rodolfo Nelson Rosado Martínez. According to local authorities, both men were identified by witnesses and are believed to be professional assassins. They were still awaiting trial at year's end.

Many local sources believe Quintero was killed in retaliation for his work as a journalist. They have suggested several possible motives. Quintero had recently been looking into the 1998 murder of Valledupar television journalist Amparo Leonor Jiménez Pallares. According to the attorney general's office, Jiménez was killed in retaliation for a story she broadcast in 1996 about the murder of peasants by a right-wing paramilitary death squad. As in Quintero's case, the gunman has been caught, but whoever was responsible for ordering the murder is still at large.

Quintero's assassination may also have been prompted by his public denunciation, in July, of an attack on the home of Saída Maestre, a presumed guerrilla sympathizer, in the town of Patillal, Quintero published the article after speaking with Maestre, who was then kidnapped on July 5. Her horribly mutilated body was found sometime later. The right-wing United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) was linked to Maestre's murder, and many have speculated that Quintero may have signed his own death sentence by publicly denouncing the attack.


Rodolfo Julio Torres, Emisora Fuentes de Cartagena, October 21, 1999, San Onofre

Torres, correspondent with the Cartagena-based radio station Emisora Fuentes, was murdered outside the small town of Berrugas, part of the Atlantic coastal municipality of San Onofre in Sucre Department.

Early on October 21, a group of unidentified individuals abducted Torres from his home and drove the 38-year-old journalist to the outskirts of town. Local journalists said that after shooting him a number of times, they left him dead by the side of the road. His body was discovered by his family and community members, according to a neighbor.

Torres had worked as the press secretary for Silfredo Mendoza, the recently elected mayor of a small town near Cartagena. He was formerly a correspondent with Radio Caracolí in Sincelejo, the capital of Sucre Department, and with the Sincelejo daily El Meridiano.

Torres' colleagues are convinced he was assassinated in reprisal for his outspoken reporting. He covered cockfights, known as major gambling sites, as well as general politics. One year ago, a series of anonymously distributed pamphlets accused him of being affiliated with leftist guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN). The pamphlets were believed to have come from the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), a coalition of extreme-right-wing paramilitary groups.



Pablo Emilio Medina Motta, TV Garzón, December 4, 1999, Gigante

Medina, a cameraman with the regional station TV Garzón, was killed by multiple shots to the head and back when more than 100 leftist guerrillas stormed the town of Gigante, in Huila Department. Six other people died and some 20 were wounded in the five-hour attack, perpetrated by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

According to TV Garzón director Rulfo Ciceri, Medina, 19, had traveled to Gigante with him and a few other journalists covering the attack. In order to reach the scene more quickly, Medina then jumped on the back of a motorcycle with a commander from the National Judicial Intelligence Service (SIJIN). The FARC guerrillas apparently mistook him for a member of the SIJIN forces.

Ciceri told CPJ that a commander of the FARC apologized to him for the error, explaining that they mistook Medina for a mosca, or "fly," a pejorative term for a police informer.



EAST TIMOR: 2

Sander Thoenes, free-lancer, September 21, 1999, Dili

The body of Thoenes, 30, a Dutch free-lance reporter on assignment for The Financial Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and the Dutch newspaper Vrij Nederland, was found on the morning of September 22 by UN forces in the Dili suburb of Becora, where Indonesian military and anti-independence militia forces had been active.

Thoenes was shot dead on the evening of September 21, when his motorcycle taxi attempted to escape a group of armed men blocking the road, according to investigators with the United Nations civilian police force in East Timor. Eyewitnesses, including Thoenes's Timorese driver, Florindo da Conceicao Araujo, told investigators that six gunmen wearing Indonesian army uniforms shot at the motorcycle, causing it to crash. Araujo said he fled when he saw that the gunmen were preparing to fire again. He last saw Thoenes lying in the middle of the street.

Australian peacekeepers discovered Thoenes's body the next morning. Investigators determined that he was most likely murdered by members of Indonesian army battalion 745, the same unit believed to have killed Agus Muliawan, a reporter for the Tokyo-based news agency Asia Press International, who was murdered along with eight church workers on September 25. Thoenes died of a gunshot wound through the back, but his killers had also sliced off his left ear and made several cuts in his face, according to a coroner's report released on January 27, 2000. The mutilation is reportedly a signature of the 745 battalion.

Thoenes, a seasoned journalist who had experience working in East Timor and Indonesia, is believed to be the first foreign reporter killed in Indonesia since 1975, when five Australia-based reporters were killed during the Indonesian military invasion of East Timor.


Agus Muliawan, Asia Press International, September 25, 1999, Baucau

Muliawan, a reporter for the Tokyo-based news agency Asia Press International, was massacred along with eight others on September 25. He was traveling with a Catholic aid group en route to Baucau from Lospalos, East Timor. Initial reports indicated that the gunmen were either Indonesian army regulars or army-backed militia members.

Muliawan, 26, had been in Dili since February, working on a television documentary about Falintil, the largest East Timorese guerrilla group favoring independence from Indonesia. The journalist was Balinese, and had established working relationships with many Indonesian military officials.

Muliawan was traveling by van with a group that included the head of the Caritas Roman Catholic aid agency, two students from a local seminary, two nuns, two assistants to the nuns, and a driver, according to Western news reports. The gunmen apparently attacked the group at a roadblock after nightfall in the town of Com, as they drove from Lospalos, where they had been on a humanitarian mission, to Baucau. The bodies of Muliawan and the other victims were found in the van, which had been pushed into the Raomoko River, 38 miles from Baucau.

In December 1999, an investigation team coordinated by the United Nations identified and detained several soldiers from Indonesian army battalion 745 as likely suspects. Some of the soldiers were arrested in Dili while others were handed over by Falintil troops who had captured them at the scene of the massacre.


LEBANON:
1

Ilan Roeh, Israel Radio, February 28, 1999, southern Lebanon

Roeh, 32, was a reporter with Israel Radio. He was killed along with three Israeli military personnel when a roadside bomb exploded in Israeli-occupied southern Lebanon. Roeh, a veteran correspondent who had covered southern Lebanon for five years, was traveling in a military convoy on a road between the Lebanese villages of Kawkaba and Hasbaya about four miles north of the Israeli border when the bomb went off, destroying the armored Mercedes in which he was riding. The Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the attack. Among the dead were Brig. Gen. Erez Gerstein, the highest-ranking Israeli officer killed in Lebanon since 1982.


NIGERIA:
3


Fidelis Ikwuebe, free-lancer, April 18, 1999, Anambra

Ikwuebe, a free-lance journalist who contributed to the Lagos daily The Guardian, was abducted and murdered while covering violent clashes between the Aguleri and Umuleri communities in Anambra State. It was not clear who was responsible for Ikwuebe's death. According to local journalists, however, the state military administration at that time was very sensitive about news coverage of the fighting, which left several hundred people dead, and the environment was a dangerous one for journalists. Throughout the year, widespread communal fightingÑincluding ethnic clashes and community feudsÑkilled many hundreds of civilians in different parts of the country.


Sam Nimfa-Jan, Details, May 27, 1999, Kafanchan

Nimfa-Jan, a journalist with the magazine Details, based in Jos, in Plateau State, was killed in Kafanchan, in Kaduna State, during ethnic clashes. He was on assignment covering riots between the Hausa Fulani and Zangon-Kataf groups that broke out over the installation of a new emir (traditional local leader) in the Jema'a area. Nigerian journalists, quoting local residents, said that Nimfa-Jan's corpse was found with arrows protruding from its back. Suspicions were apparently high that he had been killed by the Hausas

Samson Boyi, The Scope, November 5, 1999, Adamawa state

Boyi, a photojournalist with the Adamawa StateÐowned news-paper The Scope, was killed when about 30 armed men attacked the convoy of the state governor, Haruna Bonnie, who was traveling from the state capital, Yola, to the town of Bauchi. Boyi was one of several journalists assigned to cover the trip.

Neither the identities nor the motives of the attackers have been determined. When they opened fire on the convoy, the governor's security guards fired back. Boyi died in the crossfire. His colleague, Umar Mustaphar, a Yola-based reporter with the Nigeria Television Authority, sustained bullet wounds.



RUSSIA: 3

Supian Ependiyev, Groznenskiy Rabochiy, October 27, 1999, Grozny

Ependiyev, a veteran correspondent for the independent Chechnya weekly Groznenskiy Rabochiy, was killed in a Russian army rocket attack on the Chechen capital, Grozny.

On the evening of October 27, several rockets hit a crowded outdoor market in central Grozny. About an hour after the attack, Ependiyev went to the scene to cover the carnage for his paper. As Ependiyev was leaving the site, a new round of rockets fell about 200 meters from the bazaar. He suffered severe shrapnel wounds and died in a Grozny hospital the next morning, according to CPJ's sources.

In previous weeks, heavy Russian artillery fire had forced Groznenskiy Rabochiy to move its editorial operations to Nazran, in neighboring Ingushetia. Ependiyev was one of two correspondents who remained in Grozny to cover the Russian military campaign against Islamist militants in Chechnya. Until his death, the reporter had been making the dangerous trek between Grozny and Nazran weekly to file stories.


Ramzan Mezhidov, TV Tsentr, Shamil Gigayev, Nokh Cho TV, October 29, 1999, Chechnya

Mezhidov, a free-lance cameraman working for the Moscow-based TV Tsentr, and Gigayev, a cameraman for the independent Nokh Cho television station in Grozny, were killed during a Russian air attack on refugees fleeing Chechnya.

The journalists were covering a refugee convoy en route from Grozny to Nazran, in neighboring Ingushetia. As the convoy approached the Chechen town of Shaami Yurt, a Russian bomber fired several rockets from the air, hitting a busload of refugees. Despite warnings from colleagues traveling with them, Mezhidov and Gigayev left their vehicle to film the carnage. As they approached the bus, another Russian rocket hit a nearby truck, fatally wounding both journalists.



SIERRA LEONE:
10


James Ogogo, Concord Times, January 8, 1999, Freetown

Ogogo, a Nigerian journalist for the independent Concord Times, was murdered by Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in Freetown on the evening of January 8. An eyewitness reported that a group of rebels sought out Ogogo at the newspaper's offices on Pademba Road, shouting that they were "looking for the Nigerian journalist."

The rebels tied Ogogo to the back of a truck and dragged him in the direction of the State House. Before reaching the State House, the rebels stopped the truck, untied Ogogo, and told him to start walking. They then opened fire and killed him.

RUF rebels regarded Nigerian journalists as partisans of the Nigerian-led West African peacekeeping force (ECOMOG), brought in to support government troops in the ongoing civil war in Sierra Leone.


Jenner "J.C." Cole, SKY-FM, January 9, 1999, Freetown

Cole, an on-air broadcaster with the independent radio station SKY-FM, was abducted by Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels from his home near Sandars Street in central Freetown. He was being taken along with other captives to an RUF base in the east end of Freetown when a distraction caused by a West African peacekeeping force (ECOMOG) plane flying overhead allowed the other prisoners to flee.

Cole, who was prevented by the RUF rebels from escaping, was shot dead by his abductors, in front of his fiancée. RUF forces reportedly entered Freetown with a list of journalists to be eliminated for what was perceived as "anti-RUF" coverage.


Mabay Kamara, free-lancer, January 9, 1999, Freetown

Kamara, a free-lance reporter who contributed to the now defunct newspaper Vision, was abducted by Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels from his house on Soldier Street near the State House in central Freetown and subsequently murdered. A female RUF commander ordered Kamara's abduction, which was witnessed by his wife. Rebels set the Kamara residence on fire before leaving the area.


Mohammed Kamara, SKY-FM, January 9, 1999, Freetown

Kamara, a correspondent for the independent radio station SKY-FM, was shot dead by Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels on Siaka Stevens Street in central Freetown. The journalist covered court proceedings, including the treason trials that followed President Kabbah's reinstatement. Kabbah was ousted by RUF forces in May 1997, and returned to power in March 1998, with the help of the Nigerian-led West African peacekeeping force (ECOMOG).


Paul Mansaray, Standard Times, January 9, 1999, Freetown

Mansaray was deputy editor of the independent Standard Times. He, his wife, their two young children, and a nephew were murdered by Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels at their home in Calabar Town, east of Freetown. A fellow journalist who was with Mansaray and his family at the time saw the rebels approaching the house and escaped through a window as Mansaray was alerting his family to flee.

The RUF rebels were overheard shouting at Mansaray and threatening him about his journalistic work. They set the house ablaze, firing their weapons into it as it burned to the ground with Mansaray and his family inside.


Myles Tierney
, The Associated Press, January 10, 1999, Freetown

Tierney, a Nairobi-based television producer for Associated Press Television News (APTV), was killed in Freetown when his vehicle was sprayed with bullets by a man reported to be a Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebel. A West African peacekeeping force (ECOMOG) soldier was in the vehicle with the journalists when an armed man approached them and, after an exchange with the soldier, opened fire on the passengers with a semiautomatic rifle. Tierney was killed instantly. Ian Stewart, 32, APTV West Africa bureau chief, was critically wounded. Nairobi-based AP photographer David Guttenfelder suffered cuts from broken glass.


Munir Turay
, free-lancer, January 1999, Freetown

Turay, a free-lance reporter working for the independent newspaper Punch and the state-owned Daily Mail, as well as the state-owned Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service, was killed sometime between January 9 and January 15 in Kissy, in Freetown's east end. The exact circumstances of his death are unknown, but colleagues who attended his funeral on February 9 reported that he had bullet holes in his back.

At that time, rebel forces, consisting of members of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and renegade soldiers of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), were systematically murdering journalists, and Turay's colleagues were in no doubt that he had been killed for this reason.


Alpha Amadu Bah,
Independent Observer, January 17, 1999, Freetown

A group of about 20 rebels from the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and the former Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) killed Amadu Bah, a sports reporter for the daily Independent Observer, at his home on Kissy Road in the east end of Freetown.

According to an eyewitness, the rebels who came to Amadu Bah's house asked for a different person, who was out at the time. The rebels then set the house on fire and shot Amadu Bah dead as he was trying to flee. Two of Amadu Bah's colleagues (one of whom witnessed the killing) told CPJ that, considering the rebels' hatred of the press, they were certain that he had been killed because he was a journalist.



Abdulai Jumah Jalloh, African Champion, February 3, 1999, Freetown

Jalloh was news editor of the independent newspaper African Champion. He was killed by a West African peacekeeping force (ECOMOG) soldier in central Freetown, according to local journalists. Jalloh and the newspaper's editor, Mohammed D. Koroma, were on their way to a printing company near the state house when a passerby claimedÑin the presence of ECOMOG soldiersÑthat Jalloh was a Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebel and accused him of arson. Jalloh denied the charge, as did Koroma, who told the ECOMOG soldiers that Jalloh's own house had been burned by RUF rebels.

The soldiers warned Koroma not to continue defending Jalloh. An unidentified ECOMOG officer then took Jalloh aside and executed him at point-blank range.


Conrad Roy,
Expo Times, April 30, 1999, Freetown

Roy, former news editor of the banned Expo Times newspaper, died after contracting tuberculosis in Freetown's central prison. The Sierra Leone government shut down the newspaper in 1997, claiming that it was run by sympathizers of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebel movement.

In December 1998, Roy appeared at the magistrate's court, where he was convicted of treason, aiding and abetting the enemy, and conspiring to overthrow the government. Roy was released from prison during the RUF occupation of Freetown in January 1999. After RUF forces retreated from the city in February, he was rearrested by soldiers of the Nigerian-led peacekeeping force (ECOMOG). Roy contracted tuberculosis in prison. He received no medical treatment until April 26, four days before his death in the Lakka TB Hospital, 10 miles south of Freetown.



SRI LANKA: 2

Indika Pathinivasan, Maharaja Television Network; Anura Priyantha, Independent Television Network, December 18, 1999, Colombo

At an election rally in Colombo, shrapnel from a suicide bomb aimed at President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga fatally wounded Pathinivasan of Sri Lanka's privately owned Maharaja Television Network and Priyantha of the state-owned Independent Television Network, both camera assistants. Five other journalists were injured by the blast, along with Kumaratunga and scores of onlookers.

The bomb exploded at around 10 p.m. near a barrier separating journalists, including Pathinivasan and Priyantha, from Kumaratunga and a car that had arrived to pick her up. At least 22 people were killed in the assassination attempt, according to police.

Pathinivasan died instantly of shrapnel wounds. Priyantha died later at a Colombo hospital.


TURKEY: 1

Ahmet Taner Kislali, Cumhuriyet, October 21, 1999, Ankara

Kislali, a regular columnist for the daily Cumhuriyet, was killed in a bomb attack in front of his suburban Ankara home. He was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital after reportedly sustaining shrapnel wounds to his face and chest. His left arm was also torn off. Press reports, citing Turkish officials, said that the bomb was wrapped in newspaper and placed on the windshield of Kislali's car. When Kislali attempted to remove the package, it exploded.

While the identity of the perpetrators is unclear, Turkish security officials have been quoted as saying that the Great Eastern Islamic Raiders' Front (IBDA-C), an extremist, underground Islamist group, claimed responsibility for the assassination of Kislali, who was a staunch secularist and critic of the Islamist movement in Turkey. These reports, however, have not been verified.

In addition to his work at Cumhuriyet, Kislali taught political science at Ankara University. He served as culture minister in the late 1970s and had also been a member of Parliament.


YUGOSLAVIA: 6

Slavko Curuvija, Dnevni Telegraf, Evropljanin, April 11, 1999, Belgrade

Belgrade publisher Curuvija, 51, owned the mass-circulation Dnevni Telegraf, the first private daily newspaper in Serbia, and the weekly magazine Evropljanin. In what appeared to be a professional assassination, he was killed at 4:40 p.m. on April 11 outside his home near the Yugoslav Parliament building.

Curuvija's wife, Branka Prpa, who was pistol-whipped in the attack, said two gunmen dressed in black leather jackets fired several bullets into her husband's back and head. His killing was the first that targeted a member of the independent Serbian media.

Curuvija had visited Washington in December 1998, when he told Congress' Helsinki Commission that questioning the rule of President Slobodan Milosevic had become tantamount to treason. In March he was fined and sentenced to five months in jail for "spreading false information," a violation of Serbia's restrictive information law, after he published a story linking the killing of a Belgrade doctor to the Serbian deputy prime minister, Milovan Bojic. Curuvija refused to pay the fine and was appealing the sentence.

Just days before his murder, state television broadcast accusations against Curuvija alleging that he supported NATO's attack on Yugoslavia.


Shao Yunhuan, Xinhua News Agency; Xu Xinghu and Zhu Ying, The Guangming Daily, May 8, 1999, Belgrade

The three journalists, all Chinese nationals, were on assignment in Belgrade to report on the war between NATO and Serbian forces. They were killed during the night when NATO bombs hit the Chinese Embassy, where the journalists were staying. Shao was 48, Xu was 29, and Zhu was 27.


Volker Kraemer, Gabriel Gruener, Stern, June 13, 1999, Kosovo

Kraemer, 56, a photographer, and Gruener, 35, a correspondent, were on assignment in Kosovo for the German magazine Stern. The two journalists and their interpreter, Senol Alit, were returning by car to Macedonia when they encountered sniper fire outside Dulje, 25 miles south of Pristina. The journalists tried to flee on foot and were hit at long range. Kraemer was killed instantly by a shot to the head; Groener was hit in the abdomen and died in a helicopter while being taken to a hospital in Tetovo,, Macedonia. Alit, who was driving the car, was also killed. His body was found lying next to the car.

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March 22, 2000 12:10 PM ET |

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