Radio France Internationale
November 1, 2013, in Kidal, Mali
Verlon, a veteran sound engineer was abducted, along with RFI senior reporter Ghislaine Dupont, and killed shortly afterward in the remote, northeastern Saharan town of Kidal, according to news reports.
Gunmen seized the journalists as they left the home of Ambery Ag Rissa, a leader of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), a group of ethnic Tuareg separatists based in Kidal, according to news reports. Verlon and Dupont had conducted an interview with the official at around 1 p.m. local time, and were preparing to board their vehicle when they were kidnapped at gunpoint, according to the same sources.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a press conference on November 2, 2013, that the bullet-ridden bodies of the journalists were found next to their vehicle outside the town.
Verlon, 55, was on his second assignment in Kidal since reporting on the first round of Mali's presidential election in July, according to news reports. He joined RFI in 1982 and had traveled with news crews in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iraq, and around Africa, according to RFI. He was known for his technical prowess.
The group Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for the slayings, according to news reports. On November 5, 2013, RFI reported that French and Malian security forces were hunting a four-member team responsible for the kidnapping, and had detained 35 people for questioning.
Beats Covered: Human Rights, Politics, War
Local or Foreign: Foreign
Type of Death: Murder
Suspected Source of Fire: Political Group
Taken Captive: Yes