Ivory Coast Officer Suspected in Shooting Death of French Reporter

A French radio reporter was shot and killed by a police officer Tuesday at police headquarters in Abidjan (search), French diplomats and journalists said.

Jean Helene, the regional reporter for Radio France Internationale (search), was waiting to interview jailed opposition figures in the country's commercial capital when he was shot, colleagues said.

French President Jacques Chirac (search), about to begin a tour of West Africa, condemned the killing and demanded that Ivory Coast authorities "shed light on everything about this assassination."

Sophie Malibeaux, a reporter for RFI based in Dakar, Senegal (search), said the French news organization did not know why Helene was shot in the head. A witness told The Associated Press that the radio journalist was shot from behind, "without any reason."

Authorities said the policeman believed responsible had been arrested.

French diplomats were in a meeting late Tuesday with Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, Michel said.

Top RFI officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Ivory Coast is a former French colony, and French media are influential in the country, which was torn by a nine-month civil war that ended with a power-sharing deal brokered by France in January.

The country has been wracked by allegations of coup plots and assassination conspiracies against Gbagbo and other officials. The 11 opposition figures whom Jean-Helene was reported to have been waiting to interview had been jailed since Friday in an alleged assassination plot.

Helene was an experienced journalist in French West Africa and had served in several countries.