Journalists go where the news is; and for war journalists, that means going to where the fighting is taking place. In late March and April, the frontline in the Libyan war was settling in the oil port of Brega. And so that’s where the South African photojournalist Anton Hammerl headed, along with two reporters and another photographer.
Traveling in disputed territory near Brega with rebel fighters, Hammerl and the journalists suddenly found themselves alone and facing gunfire from Gaddafi loyalists barreling forward in two armored trucks. GlobalPost’s James Foley, one of the reporters in the incident, said he called out amid the barrages asking if Hammerl was ok. The answer was “No” and then there was silence.
Gaddafi’s men took Foley and the other two journalists into custody. That was on April 5. For the next seven weeks, the Libyan regime indicated that all four were alive. Only after Foley and his two fellow detainees were released and reached Tunisia on May 19 did they confirm that their last image of Hammerl was of his body, shot through the abdomen, lying in the desert. Hammerl took this photo on April 3, two days before his death. It shows rebels celebrating their recapture of Brega. They lost control of it soon after. The city is still held by Gaddafi.
—by Howard Chua-Eoan; Produced by Alexander Ho