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Attack forces community-based radio station off the air

(FOPEA/IFEX) - 14 September 2011 - On 10 September 2011, a violent attack took place at the FM Pajsachama offices in El Retiro, close to San José de Boquerón, about 220 km north of Santiago del Estero, capital of the Santiago del Estero province. The station is connected to a local rural association, the Movimiento Campesino de Santiago del Estero-Vía Campesina (Mocase-VC).

According to information posted by Mocase members on the organisation's website, the incident occurred at 7:30 p.m., when two unidentified individuals arrived at the station saying they wanted to deliver a message. Once they were inside the premises, they pulled out a gun and proceeded to lock all the employees in a room, forcing them to get down on the floor. They cut the antenna cables and damaged equipment, making it impossible for the station to continue broadcasting. One of the employees managed to escape out a window and alert the neighbours. The attackers then fled in a gray vehicle.

Deolinda Carrizo, of Mocase's Communications Department, told FOPEA that the intruders also poured acid on the station's equipment. As a result, the station will remain off the air for at least 10 days while its equipment is being repaired. She also said that the incident had been reported to the Monte Quemado court and the police in San José del Boquerón.

The broadcasting range of FM Pajsachama is 80 km, it broadcasts for six hours a day and employees 15 people who live in the El Retiro community. The station's programming focuses on the rights of indigenous peoples who live in the region, and for this it has often received criticism from various factions.

FOPEA calls on local authorities to investigate the incident and ensure that the station's equipment is replaced so that it can resume broadcasting.

(Please note this is an abridged translation).
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