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Young radio announcer murdered in Petén department

(CERIGUA/IFEX) - The body of Miguel Ángel Amaya Pérez, 23, a recently-hired announcer for Sabana radio station, was found in the town of Santa Elena, a municipality in the Petén department, 515 kilometers from Guatemala City, the capital, on 10 December 2007, at 5:00 p.m. (local time). He had been working for the station for only two months.

His family members reported that Amaya Pérez had gone out on the afternoon of 9 December to drop his wife off in the town of El Esfuerzo, and was shot down on his return.

Sabana radio station director Carlos Coy and the Association of Journalists and Announcers of Petén (Asociación de Periodistas y Locutores de Petén) condemned the crime and asked the authorities to investigate it and ensure that the crime does not go unpunished.

Jary Chang, president of the Association of Journalists and Announcers of Petén (Presidente de la Asociación de Periodistas y Locutores de Petén), commented that the Northern Radio Corporation (Corporación Radial del Norte) had begun to broadcast news only six months prior, and that Amaya was an announcer for one of its news programmes.

His relatives do not believe that robbery was the motive for Amaya Pérez's murder, given that his personal belongings were not stolen and his motorcycle was not removed from the scene of the crime.

Media stories indicate that organised crime and drug-traffickers are active and exercise significant power in the northeastern region of the country. The departments of Jutiapa, Jalapa, Zacapa, Izabal, Petén and San Marcos, whose territories are used for the international transshipment of drugs, are largely under the control of organised crime groups, according to information from the governance ministry (Ministerio de Gobernación). The same elements exert considerable power in Escuintla, Quiché and Alta Verapaz.

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