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Central African journalist found injured, but alive

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders is relieved to learn that Radio Be Oko journalist Elisabeth Blanche Olofio was not, as previously reported, killed when members of the Séléka rebel coalition occupied the central town of Bambari in early January.

The Community Radio Association (ARC) reported her death in a 7 January press release and, after obtaining confirmation from an independent source, Reporters Without Borders also reported it three days later.

The ARC issued a correction on 24 February. It turns out that this young woman is alive and is now in the capital Bangui. She still bears physical and psychological scars from her ordeal, which she has recounted to the ARC.

Listen to her story (in French)

According to the ARC, Séléka rebels ransacked and destroyed her home on 4 January, because they thought she had “a sharp tongue.” She fled the area during the destruction but upon her return, she and her neighbours confronted the rebels.

In reprisal, about 30 rebels surrounded her house and beat everyone present, injuring many of them. After being hit on the head and losing consciousness, Olofio was taken to a village in the countryside to receive traditional care for her injuries.

Following the reports of her death on 7 January, relatives and NGO representatives went to the village to attend her burial. After discovering she was still alive but injured, they persuaded her to seek treatment in a hospital in the city.

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