New York, June 19, 2001 — Two Algerian journalists were killed last Thursday, June 14, while covering mass anti-government protests organized by Berber community leaders in the capital Algiers, CPJ has learned.
Fadila Nejma, a reporter for the Arabic weekly Echourouk, died after being struck by a speeding bus during the protests. Nejma suffered severe chest and leg injuries, and died later in the hospital.
Local journalists and press sources variously reported that the bus driver ran over Nejma while trying to escape demonstrators intent on torching his bus, or that one of the protesters had commandeered the vehicle and was trying to crash it into local security forces.
Also killed on Thursday was reporter Adel Zerrouk of the Arabic daily Al-Rai. Some CPJ sources and local press reports stated that Zerrouk died after a crowd of protestors trampled him. According to other reports, however, the journalist was hit by the same bus that killed Nejma.
CPJ is saddened by both deaths and expresses its condolences to the journalists’ families and colleagues. We continue to investigate both cases.