South African photojournalist Anton Hammerl's family believes he was killed by Gaddafi's forces in the Libyan desert.
Another photojournalist is believed dead in a conflict that has taken a dark toll on conflict journalists. In a statement on Facebook, Anton Hammerl's family posted that they believe him to have been shot to death by Gaddafi's forces in a remote area of the Libyan desert. They believe this to have happened as long ago as April 5th, but that the Libyan government has lied about his status:
At 10pm BST (11pm SA time) this evening we received devastating news regarding Anton Hammerl.
On 5 April 2011 Anton was shot by Gaddafi’s forces in an extremely remote location in the Libyan desert. According to eyewitnesses, his injuries were such that he could not have survived without medical attention.
Words are simply not enough to describe the unbelievable trauma the Hammerl family is going through.
From the moment Anton disappeared in Libya we have lived in hope as the Libyan officials assured us that they had Anton.
It is intolerably cruel that Gaddafi loyalists have known Anton’s fate all along and chose to cover it up.
Thank you so much for your love and support.
The Hammerl family
This information came to the Hammerl family via two of the photojournalists recently freed by the Libyan government, and they waited until safely out of the country before revealing the information. During that same April 5th raid that saw Hammerl killed, four journalists were captured and held for more than six weeks, finally being released on Wednesday, 18 May.
The South African government is claiming that Libya lied to them, and assured them that Hammerl was safe.
The war in Libya also saw the recent death of photojournalists Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros, and has prompted widespread discussion about the safety and role of photojournalists in conflict situations.