Thursday 7 March 2013

Nine questioned in attacks on media outlets in Chihuahua

Door of Diario de Juárez (source: Diario de Juárez)
Nine men have been detained in relation to the attacks on two media outlets early Wednesday in the border town of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua.

A spokesperson for the state Attorney General’s office (Fiscalía General del Estado, or “FGE”), Carlos González Estrada, said that four of the men were seized at one location. They were located because the Dodge Caravan used in one of the attacks was spotted on the street.

The five other detained men are security guards at a location where there had been a fire the previous night.  Apparently, at the time they had threatened a reporter who had arrived on the scene to cover the story.

As of this writing none of the men have been arrested – they are only being questioned.

No one was hurt in the unprecedented attacks, which occurred only 36 hours after the journalist Jaime Guadalupe González was killed in Ojinaga, also in Chihuaha – the most dangerous state in Mexico to be a journalist.

The recent attacks were on the newspaper Diario de Juárez and the television station Canal 44 (Channel 44). Apparently they were conducted only minutes apart by two armed groups who opened fire on the outlets’ buildings.

According to early police reports, the first incident occurred only a few minutes after midnight when a group opened fire on Diario de Juárez's offices, which are located on Paseo Triunfo de la República. The attackers were in the Dodge Caravan, and unloaded at least seven shots without leaving their vehicle. They then fled the scene, leaving behind .45 caliber shells.

Minutes later, a similar attack occurred at the television station, but this time from a Volkswagen Jetta. A person or persons fired at the company’s security gate with a 9 millimeter handgun, and then drove off on Gómez Morín. Five shell casings have been found at the scene.

Security personnel and reporters at work called authorities, and even set out to find the culprits, but to no avail.

In response, representatives of all three levels of government – municipal, state, and federal – met Wednesday with management from both organizations. They promised that a coordinated effort would result in the capture of the culprits, and also guaranteed that the outlets’ premises and facilities will now have 24 hour protection.

Specifically, Chihuahua’s attorney General Carlos Manuel Salas, State Police Director Raul Avila, and a delegate from the federal Attorney General’s office (PGR), César Augusto Peniche, went on site to inspect the damage.

(TE Wilson is the author of Mezcalero, a Detective Sánchez novel.)

For a historical analysis of the risks faced by journalists in Mexico, and the repercussions, see:

And for recent attacks on journalists in Mexico see:

February 25: Federal agents attacked while guarding El Siglo de Torreón newspaper

Twitter: @TimothyEWilson
Email: lapoliticaeslapolitica [at] gmail [dot] com

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