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3 foreign reporters missing in Libya

Published: Sunday, March 20 2011 9:36 p.m. MDT

BENGHAZI, Libya — Two journalists working for a French news agency and a photographer traveling with them have gone missing in Libya while reporting on the fighting between Moammar Gadhafi's forces and rebels, the agency said Sunday.

Agence France-Presse said the journalists went missing Saturday morning while working near the eastern city of Tobruk, not far from the border with Egypt. That area mostly remains under rebel control, but government forces have gained back territory in the east in recent days.

The AFP journalists are reporter Dave Clark and photographer Roberto Schmidt. They were accompanied by a photographer for Getty Images, Joe Raedle, who is also missing.

AFP said the journalists planned to meet opponents of Gadhafi and interview people fleeing the fighting.

Several foreign journalists have been arrested by Libyan authorities during the uprising that began Feb. 15. An Al-Jazeera cameraman and a Libyan journalist have also been killed.

Those being held include four journalists for The New York Times who were detained by government forces during fighting last week in the east. The newspaper reported Friday that Libyan forces said they would release them, but there has been no confirmation that they have been freed.

On Saturday, Al-Jazeera TV said Libyan authorities detained a team of its journalists in western Libya. A cameraman for the network was killed a week ago in an ambush near the rebel capital of Benghazi.

On Saturday, a Libyan who ran a webcast program showing the aftermath of government attacks and commentary on the uprising was killed in a government assault on the city.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said six Libyan journalists who criticized government policies are missing and believed held by forces loyal to Gadhafi. Three of them disappeared shortly after speaking to Al-Jazeera on the air, the group said.

"The authorities in Tripoli must release all journalists in detention immediately," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator.

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