The CAR authorities' preliminary data shows that robbery was behind an armed attack on Russian journalists in the Central African Republic, the journalists were killed when trying to offer resistance to attackers, Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.
"According to the preliminary data of law enforcement agencies, the Russian citizens were attacked by unknown people for the purpose of robbery," Zakharova said, as quoted by the ministry's Twitter account.
The spokeswoman told a briefing that the journalist were killed when they attempted to resist the attackers.
"The Russian embassy is taking all efforts to send them back to their homeland today. For ethical reasons, we will not announce the date of the flight's arrival. At the same time, I would like to say that all the information has been provided to families of the deceased today," Zakharova told a briefing.
Russian Embassy, CAR police to sum up first results of investigation into murder of Russian journalists later on Friday, Maria Zakharova said.
The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) has provided four experts to assist the investigation into the murder of Russian journalists in the Central African Republic (CAR), Maria Zakharova said.
"At the moment, the UN Stabilization Mission in the CAR has joined the investigation, it has allocated four experts," Zakharova told a briefing.
Russian journalists did not apply for accreditation to get to military base where Russian servicemen were trained, according to Zakharova.
"Currently, 175 Russian instructors work in the CAR, including five military and 170 civilian. Russian specialists are sent to this country on a perfectly legal basis at the request of the president of this country to assist in the training of Central African soldiers. The main task of Russians is to train local military personnel to handle weapons and equipment delivered to the CAR by the Russian Ministry of Defense free of charge in late January-early February this year," the spokeswoman told reporters.
Russian nationals Kyrill Radchenko, Alexander Rastorguev and Orkhan Dzhemal were killed near the CAR city of Sibut. The Russian Investigative Committee has already opened a criminal investigation into the case. Russian opposition figure Mikhail Khodorkovsky's investigative media outlet confirmed that it had sent the three journalists to make a documentary film in the CAR.
The bodies of three Russian journalists murdered in the Central African Republic will be sent to Russia later on Friday, the CAR Ministry of Communication and Media said in a letter received by Sputnik.
The CAR has been suffering from sectarian clashes between the Muslims and the Christians since the 2013 coup, when the Muslim Seleka rebels seized control over the country, overthrowing then President Francois Bozize, provoking a backlash from the Christian militia.