New York, April 21, 2004—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is deeply troubled by the disappearance of French-Canadian freelance journalist Guy-André Kieffer, one of the few foreign investigative reporters still based in Ivory Coast. Kieffer had been receiving death threats in recent weeks, according to his family and friends, who fear that he has been killed.

The missing journalist was also a commodities consultant—specializing in the Ivory Coast’s lucrative cocoa and coffee sectors—for a company that had contracts with the government. He had conducted numerous investigations in these sectors, including exposing corruption. His freelance work included contributions to the Paris-based African business newsletter Lettre du Continent.

Kieffer was last seen on April 16, according to local and international press reports. Since then his cell phone has been switched off. His family has not heard from him. Unconfirmed reports in the opposition press have suggested that Kieffer was abducted and killed by members of the security forces. Reports that the tortured corpse of a white man was seen in Azaguié, near Abidjan, also remain unconfirmed.

“We are extremely worried about our colleague, Guy-André Kieffer,” said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper. “We call on President Laurent Gbagbo to ensure that a thorough and transparent investigation is conducted immediately.”

The reports of Kieffer’s disappearance come after the brutal murder last October of French journalist Jean Hélène. The correspondent for Radio France Internationale was shot at point blank range by a police officer, who was convicted in January and sentenced to 17 years in prison.