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Gunmen kill Mexican journalist in northern state

Gunmen kill Mexican journalist in northern state

Gunmen killed a columnist for a newspaper in a northern Mexican state plagued by kidnappings and drug violence, authorities said Tuesday. A motive hadn't been determined.
At least four gunmen confronted Carlos Ortega on Sunday when he got out of his car in front of his home in the small town of Santa Maria del Oro, the Durango state prosecutor's office said in statement. Ortega was shot in the head after struggling with the attackers, it said.
There was no evidence that Ortega, 52, was targeted for his newspaper work, said Victor Garza, director of the newspaper Tiempo. He noted that Durango has been plagued with drug violence and kidnappings and that Ortega was also a lawyer who defended criminal suspects.
"As a newspaper, and as journalists, we want the motive to be established first of all _ so that it isn't linked to freedom of expression if that's not the case, or it isn't kept quiet or covered up if it is," Garza said.
Garza said Ortega recently argued with the town's mayor, Martin Silvestre Herrera, over an article on sanitation at a local slaughterhouse, and then wrote a column saying he would hold the mayor responsible if anything happened to him.
But Garza stressed that the mayor never threatened Ortega. He said Ortega also had been targeted in the past: In separate incidents, gunmen shot at his home and his car was set on fire.
Nobody answered the phone at Herrera's office because it was closed for the Cinco de Mayo holiday.
Officials at the Durango prosecutor's office declined to comment further.
The advocacy group Reporters Without Borders urged authorities "not to neglect the possibility that (Ortega) was killed because of his articles."


Updated : 2021-04-21 07:55 GMT+08:00