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Popular crime reporter gunned down

A crime reporter who claimed that political candidates were trading drugs for votes in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Norte was killed by a motorcycle gunman on 18 October , report the Associação Brasileira de Jornalismo Investigativo (ABRAJI), the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Francisco Gomes de Medeiro (widely known as F. Gomes) hosted a popular radio station in the city of Caicó and also published crime stories on his blog.

According to the "Latin American Herald Tribune", he had reported receiving threats since his 29 September report about political candidates offering voters crack cocaine for their votes ahead of the 3 October general elections.

Police said they have a man in custody who confessed to the killing. João Francisco dos Santos told investigators he killed Gomes because of Gomes's coverage of his 2007 conviction on armed robbery charges. But according to the "Tribune", other statements by Dos Santos indicated he may have carried out the murder on someone else's behalf.

Twenty other reporters have been killed in Brazil since 1992 - 16 in direct retaliation for their work, says CPJ.

Violence against journalists reporting on organised crime will be one of the main issues discussed at IAPA's General Assembly in Mérida, Mexico, on 5-9 November.

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