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Sun Nov 23 15:24:47 SAST 2014

Zuma to discuss Hammerl in Libya

Sapa | 30 May, 2011 08:590 Comments
South African President Jacob Zuma (L) leaves after the presidential inauguration ceremony of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan at Eagle Square in Abuja.
Image by: REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

President Jacob Zuma will discuss photographer Anton Hammerl's death during his visit to Tripoli for talks with Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

"[The issue] is going to arise. Firstly, because we hear that the journalist in fact died and was never arrested. That brings the question why we were told information which was not accurate," Zuma said.

He said it appeared that Hammerl did not have a proper burial, the SABC reported on Monday..

"We are hoping we will be able to discover something for the family."

Zuma will meet Gaddafi on Monday, amid intensified NATO strikes on the his regime, as part of an African push to end the conflict.

It was understood their talks could focus on an exit plan.

In a statement released by Hammerl's family on Thursday, it urged Zuma "as a family man and father" to help locate the photographer's remains and have them returned home so he could be put to rest.

Hammerl was covering the conflict in Libya when he was shot by militia loyal to Gaddafi on April 5 near the town of Brega.

According to American journalists Clare Gillis, James Foley and Spanish photographer Manu Brabo, Hammerl was left to die in the desert after they were arrested.

The South African government and the African National Congress publicly slammed the Libyan government last week following confirmation of Hammerl's death by the three journalists.

South Africa accused Libya of lying, it had assured officials he was safe even though it knew he had been shot dead.

International relations and co-operation department spokesman Clayson Monyela said on Wednesday that it was only when Gillis, Foley and Brabo were debriefed that the South African government became aware that the Libyan government had lied.

"We ask you to please be our hearts and to be our voices in appealing to Libya for the whereabouts of Anton's remains. It is imperative for us that he is not failed on this level," the family said in its statement, which was e-mailed directly to the presidency.

"We ourselves cannot rest until Anton is given a proper burial in South Africa at a site that will become a place where his children, Aurora, 11, Neo, seven and 15-week old Hiro can come to pay tribute to their father."

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