According to the Reuters report, citing a statement released today by French President Francois Hollande, Lepage’s body was found when French-affiliated soldiers stopped “a car driven by anti-balaka [Christian militia] groups, in the Bouar region.”
The Associated Press report, citing Lepage’s colleagues, says the photojournalist was caught in fighting “while traveling in a village about 37 miles (60 kilometers) west of Bouar, near the country’s border with Cameroon.”
Lapage, who is from Angers, France, last posted on her social media accounts on May 6. In the caption to a photograph posted to her Instagram she wrote: “Travelling with the Anti Balaka to Amada Gaza, about 120km from Berberati, we left at 3.30am to avoid the Misca checkpoints and it took us 8 hours by motorbike as there is [sic] no proper roads to reach the village. In the region of Amada Gaza, 150 people were killed by the Seleka between March and now. Another attack took place on Sunday killing 6 people, the anti balaka Colonel Rock decides to send his elements there to patrol around and take people who fled to the bush back to their homes safely.”
In addition to covering Central African Republic, LePage had also photographed stories in South Sudan, and had been published in The New York Times, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, The Guardian and Le Monde among other publications. Lepage had also worked with Medecines Sans Frontiers, Amnesty International, the World Food Program, and other non-governmental organizations.
In their statement, the French President’s office called Lepage’s death a “murder,” saying, “Everything will be done to uncover the circumstances of this assassination and to track down who murdered our compatriot.”