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A graphic designer for a national daily in Guatemala was killed after being hit in the chest by an arrow fired from a crossbow, report Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Institute for Press and Society (IPYS).

Abel Girón Morales, of the privately-owned national daily "El Periódico", was followed as he left his home in Villa Nueva for work at the paper. The assassin, described as a young-looking man, fired the arrow from a moving black pick-up truck. Girón died while being taken to hospital.

According to RSF, emergency services called to the scene said they had never seen such an attack. The public ministry responsible for the investigation has not released any information about possible motives, but said the perpetrators appeared to know their victim's daily routine.

The Centre for Informative Reports on Guatemala (CERIGUA) is continuing to pressure the government to ensure the safety of journalists and all Guatemalans, especially in light of increasing threats from "poderes paralelos", or "parallel powers" - the groups involved in illicit activities like drug trafficking and organised crime.

In August, the president of "El Periódico" was kidnapped for 10 hours and a journalist from the paper was followed and threatened. Three journalists have been killed in Guatemala this year, says RSF, and motives for the deaths have not been established in any of the cases.

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- RSF:
(29 October 2008)

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