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Indigenous radio station in Santiago de Estero attacked with incendiary bombs

(AMARC/IFEX) - On 7 August 2009 at 1:00 a.m. (local time) two incendiary bombs made with gasoline exploded in the facilities of FM Pajsachama radio station in the El Retiro area near José de Boquerón, in the province of Santiago del Estero. One of the bombs was placed in the studios and the other in the solar energy facilities that provide the electricity to power the station.

The bomb that exploded in the studios was placed so as to destroy the entire station, but the rapid reaction of the individual in charge of guarding the facilities at the time prevented the burning of all the equipment, although the furniture, a library and some cables did sustain damage. The fire from the second bomb was extinguished before it affected the equipment that powers the station.

FM Pajsachama belongs to communities from the Lule-Vilela population in northern Argentina. It has been in operation for a little more than a year and is the first FM station in the country to function with solar energy since the area is very poor and does not have access to conventional sources of electricity. It is part of a network of four community radio stations. Since its beginning, it has been a tool for the dissemination of information on the rights and struggles of the indigenous, peasant farm communities in northern Santiago del Estero.

The members of FM Pajsachama say that they have received threats since the radio station began operating and, as such, they have always had someone sleeping at and watching over station on a rotational basis. They have not been able to identify the individuals responsible for the attack, who were seen fleeing the scene on a motorcycle immediately after the explosions. However, the radio station members believe the attack is related to the critical stance FM Pajsachama has taken against several landowners and politicians in the area. An attempt was made to file a complaint about the attack with the local army base, but no one was available to attend to the radio station's members.

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