Photojournalist dies in Tunisia

2011-01-16 13:59

Paris - French photojournalist Lucas Mebrouk Dolega, who was wounded by a tear-gas canister while covering riots in Tunisia, died from his injuries on Sunday, his employer and French officials told AFP.

"Lucas passed away this morning," Horacio Villalobos, head of the European Picture Agency's Paris office, told AFP. The news was confirmed by the French consulate in Tunis, where he died after hospital treatment.

Mebrouk Dolega was wounded on Friday when he was hit by a police teargas grenade as he covered the street protests that triggered the downfall of Tunisia's former strongman Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

According to colleague Julien Muguet the grenade was fired at point blank range and hit the 32-year-old journalist in the head. He was given surgery in Tunisia's National Neurological Institute, but could not be saved.

Mebrouk Dolega is the first foreign journalist known to have died in the Tunisian crisis, but rights groups say scores of unarmed civilian protesters were slain in the street battles that led to Ben Ali's fall.