Sudan freelance video journalist Mohaned Awad, Cairo reporter Samy Magdy and East Africa correspondent Cara Anna were the first to report on dozens of bodies, many found mutilated and with their hands bound, found floating in the border river that separates Sudan from the conflict-torn Ethiopian province of Tigray. The bodies are evidence of continued atrocities being committed on the other side of the border amid a communications blackout and virtually zero access to Tigray, where ethnic killings by Ethiopian forces and their allies have frequently been reported during the nine-month war.
Strong source work and compelling visual storytelling put the AP well ahead on the story. Tigrayan refugees in Sudan alerted Anna and Magdy to the appearance of bodies, and a refugee surgeon traveled to the site to get images. Magdy also got key confirmation from a Sudanese official — countering Ethiopian government claims that such reports are fabricated by Tigrayans for propaganda. Anna also spoke to refugee doctors for more details.
AP broke the story hours ahead of major competitors and was also first with visuals from the border area — the surgeon’s images obtained by Magdy and a strong pieced-together visual narrative produced and shot by Awad. He was the first journalist to reach the scene to visually confirm at least six graves with witness accounts, which Anna wrote up as an Only on AP text story.
The work had a major impact in Europe, where more than 40 TV networks used it.