French reporters escape from Homs

Journalists Edith Bouvier and William Daniels now in Lebanon, French President Nicolas Sarkozy says.

    Bouvier suffered injuries in a shelling attack that killed two other journalists [Reuters]

    Wounded French journalist Edith Bouvier and photographer William Daniels have arrived in Lebanon from Syria, according to French President Nicolas Sarkozy and activists.

    Bouvier and Daniels were the last foreign journalists remaining in a besieged neighbourhood of Homs, where reporters had until recently been covering a month-long assault by government forces.

    Bouvier suffered a broken femur in a rocket attack by security forces late last month on a makeshift media centre in the heavily bombarded Bab Amr district. Two journalists were killed in the same attack, and another was wounded.

    "I have just spoken with Edith Bouvier, who is naturally exhausted, having suffered hugely but she knows she is free and that she will soon be taken care of," Sarkozy said.

    Bouvier and Daniels, on assignment for France's Le Figaro newspaper at the time of the attack, were not currently in Beirut but would be flown back to France in a government plane, Sarkozy said.

    Paul Conroy, a British photographer injured in the February 22 bombardment, reached Lebanon on Tuesday after being 'smuggled' out. Bouvier and Daniels had left with Conroy and Spanish journalist Javier Espinosa, who was not injured, but were forced to return to Bab Amr after coming under artillery fire as they left the city.

    "We had lost contact with the rescue party for the last 24 hours but were overjoyed to hear that they had made it to safety," said Ricken Patel, the executive director of the Avaaz activist network, which was in touch with the men smuggling the journalists out.

    Thirteen activists died helping the journalists escape, Avaaz has said. They have also evacuated 47 civilians from the city while bringing in medicine and food.

    Journalists 'buried in Homs'

    Marie Colvin, a veteran war correspondent for the UK Sunday Times and Remi Ochlik, a French photographer, were killed in last week's attack.

    Two separate activist videos posted online on Thursday are said to have shown Colvin and Ochlik buried in a Bab Amr cemetery.

    A man, identifying himself as Dr. Mohammed al-Mohammed, says locals decided to bury the two reporters in a neighbourhood cemetery on February 27 following a power cutoff that prohibited the bodies from being properly refrigerated.

    Calling Colvin a martyr, Mohammed said in one video that "she was telling the truth about what is happening in Baba Amr. May God be merciful to you, Marie, as we bury you in this garden".

    In a separate video for Ochlik's burial, Mohammed said he was "doing his humanitarian duty, and doing his duty as completely as possible to send the true picture of what is going on in Baba Amr during the most terrible time".

    The video for Colvin shows a body wrapped in white cloth with a piece of white paper attached to it reading "Marie Colvin" in English. The identities of the bodies cannot be verified from the footage.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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