Radio France Internationale reporter Ghislaine Dupont and technician Claude Verlon had just interviewed one of the leaders of the Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA) in Kidal, in northern Mali, on 2 November 2013 when they were kidnapped by four gunmen and were taken away in a pickup. An hour later, their bullet-riddled bodies were found near the abandoned pickup in the desert east of the town.
Investigations were quickly opened in Mali and France but made little progress. Two years later, the identity of the killers and the circumstances and motive of this double murder are still not known. In Mali, the investigation seems to have come to a complete halt. In France, President François Hollande received Dupont’s relatives at the Elysée Palace in July 2015, assuring them that French military secrecy would be lifted in order to facilitate the investigation.
One of RFI’s most influential journalists, Dupont concentrated on covering Africa. Colleagues described her as determined and forthright. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, she covered the first round of the 2006 presidential election so well that she was deported before it was over. “With the compliments of the police,” an officer said as he handed over her passport and return ticket. An excellent technician, Verlon had a reputation for liking tough assignments and being a perfectionist. He was the ideal ally for reporting from the most out-of-the-way places. This was their second visit to Kidal.