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South African photographer killed in Libya: family

Published on 20/05/2011

Anton Hammerl, a South African photographer who had been missing in Libya, was shot dead six weeks ago by leader Moamer Kadhafi's forces, his family said Friday in a statement.

“Anton was shot by Kadhafi’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,” the Hammerl family said in a statement posted on Facebook.

“Words are simply not enough to describe the unbelievable trauma the Hammerl family is going through.”

The Libyan government had for weeks said Hammerl, 41, was alive. Musa Ibrahim, the official spokesman for the government of Moamer Kadhafi, had said Tuesday that Hammerl would be among a group of four detained foreign journalists who were to be freed in Tripoli on Wednesday.

But upon their release the other journalists said Hammerl had been killed when they came under attack by Kadhafi forces and were captured on April 5.

American James Foley, a reporter for GlobalPost who was one of those released Wednesday, told the online news agency that Hammerl had been shot by Kadhafi forces while the group reported from the rebel-held front lines on the outskirts of the strategic oil town of Brega.

The Austrian foreign ministry said on April 25 that Hammerl, a South African with Austrian parents, was alive and well after a “number of exchanges” with Libyan authorities.