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Newspaper journalist murdered in Tamaulipas; colleagues await investigation

(CEPET/IFEX) - Francisco Ortiz Monroy, a reporter for the Mexico City-based daily "Diario de México", was shot dead by hitmen in the municipality of Camargo, in Tamaulipas, a state near the US border, on 5 February 2008.

The motive for the murder has yet to be determined and the police investigation is progressing slowly, "Diario de México" editor-in-chief Abel Magaña told CEPET.

According to information collected by the Tamaulipas Attorney General's Office (Procuraduría General de Justicia de Tamaulipas), his killers fired upon Ortiz Monroy from a moving truck. He apparently tried to flee, taking refuge in a home, but was found by the gunmen.

Several local newspapers have reported that the journalist, 48, was the random victim of crossfire between gunmen and soldiers during a chase.

His newspaper is waiting for the police to announce their findings before taking a position on the murder, said the daily's director. However, he ventured that it seemed unlikely that the murder of the journalist was related to his work, since he was not on the crime beat. Ortiz Monroy covered the activities of the Tamaulipas state government, which is why the director believes it unlikely the death is work-related. He added that "Diario de México" has not received any threats nor been harassed.

Susana Reyes, who, as coordinator for the correspondents, dealt directly with Ortiz Monroy, told CEPET that he was a peaceful person who had never mentioned receiving threats or experiencing conflicts with anyone.

The journalist is survived by a wife and two daughters.

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