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Reporter and journalism student threatened by armed assailants

(FOPEA/IFEX) - 17 February 2012 - The Foro de Periodismo Argentino (FOPEA) is concerned about an incident involving Omar Millalonco, who works for in La Plata, Buenos Aires province, and his partner Lilen Mercado, a journalism student. The two were threatened on 13 February 2012 by five armed individuals who were on motorcycles and wearing hooded tops.

FOPEA expresses its support for Millalonco and Mercado and calls on the local and provincial authorities to guarantee their physical safety. The organisation also calls on judicial authorities to carry out a timely and thorough investigation of the incident, so as to restore the journalists' peace of mind.

On 13 February at 3 a.m., Millalonco and Mercado were saying goodbye to friends at the entrance to their home in La Plata, when they were approached by the five armed individuals. One of them yelled, "Stop messing around. If you keep talking we'll shoot you." They entered the hallway to Millalonco's apartment and broke a glass in the door, but the journalist and Mercado were able to take shelter inside without being physically attacked.

Millalonco and Mercado study journalism at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata and are involved in activities connected to defending human rights. Millalonco, who is also in charge of, told FOPEA that he did not know why he had been threatened, but that he had reported the incident to the Number 9 police station in La Plata.

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