Obituary: Myles Tierney

MYLES TIERNEY was part of that unique breed - the news agency journalist in Africa - who take all the risks for none of the fame.

Every British television viewer has seen pictures produced by Tierney for Associated Press Television News - from Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Eritrea and other troublespots in Africa - and not known it. As with all agency material, his was "pulled together" in British newsrooms and packaged with a voice-over by a journalist sitting safely in a studio.

Tierney was 34 and on his latest anonymous mission when he was killed on Sunday in Sierra Leone. He and two colleagues - Ian Stewart, who is in critical condition in a London hospital, and David Guttenfelder, both also of AP - were shot at a checkpoint in Freetown.

They were travelling in apparently relatively safe conditions, with a Sierra Leone information ministry convoy aiming to show them what a good job the Nigerian-led Ecomog forces were doing against the rebels. Tierney was sitting in the back seat when a jumpy checkpoint guard emptied his machine gun into the journalists' car, killing him instantly and lodging a bullet in Stewart's neck.

Tierney was always in the worst travel spots because, as a colleague said yesterday, he just "had to go". He was energetic and determined: "AP will have to hire 15 people to replace him", said a cameraman. He was also a true colleague, knowing exactly where professional rivalry ended and solidarity began.

Tierney joined AP as a freelance producer in 1996 after several years of working for the German network, ZDF, in Germany. AP sent him to New York to set up a television bureau but he preferred Africa - which he first experienced during the Burundi crisis in 1996 - and moved to Nairobi in 1997.

We met last June in Ziguinchor, southern Senegal, where we were both devising plans for getting into Guinea-Bissau, whose border had been sealed to stop a flood of refugees. The roads were blocked and the mangroves mined, so the only way was by water.

Tierney, with the cameraman Khaled Kazziha, hired a local fisherman to take them and their equipment out to sea and back into Guinea-Bissau. Knowing that, as a newspaper journalist, I only had the means to hire a canoe, not a trawler, Tierney included me in his plan. In the event, I did not go with them - judging them to be too conspicuous with their television equipment - and opted for the personal canoe. They got in (and out again) and I did not. Throughout, Tierney was generous with his knowledge and experience.

Colleagues and friends in Nairobi found it hard to define Myles Tierney. "Some people have said he had it coming because he was so driven, said Jane Standley, BBC Africa correspondent. "That is grossly unfair because we all benefited from the information he managed to get."

"He saved my life at least three times that I know of and there were probably many other times when he just did not think it important to tell me what he had done for my safety," said Alistair Lyne, a South African cameraman who worked with Tierney throughout central Africa in 1996 and 1997.

Claude Collart, a senior producer at APTN in London, said: "He spoke fluent French and German. We brought him over to Germany to prepare the election coverage there last year. It was a comfortable job and Guinea- Bissau happened in the middle of it. He said, `Sorry, I have to go.' That is how I remember him, always needing to tell the story."

Myles Tierney, journalist: born New York 25 November 1964; died Freetown, Sierra Leone 10 January 1999.

Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
film
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

film
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

film
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

books
Arts and Entertainment
Panic! In The Disco's Brendon Urie performs on stage

music
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

    Finding the names for America’s shame

    The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears