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Journalist disappears in Michoacán state

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 14 February 2008, the disappearance of reporter Mauricio Estrada Zamora, of two Michoacán state-based newspapers - "La Opinión de Apatzingán" and "La Opinión de Michoacán" - in southern México, was reported.

In its editorial piece, "La Opinión de Michoacán" stated that the journalist left the newspaper's premises on 12 February and never arrived home. He has apparently not been answering his cell phone either.

The newspaper stated that on the morning of 13 February, the person in charge of public safety for the Peña Colorado area of the municipality of Buena Vista Tomatlán found the journalist's vehicle, and reported it to the authorities. It was parked, but the engine was running.

The newspaper asked the Michoacán state Attorney General's Office to intervene. The latter has sent its anti-kidnapping team to the region in order to find the reporter; the area will also be searched by helicopter.

The newspaper believes Estrada Zamora's disappearance may be related to a problem he had more than 20 days prior with a Federal Investigations Agency (Agencia Federal de Investigación, AFI) agent posted in the area, nicknamed "The Devil".

It is worth pointing out that in December 2007 journalist Gerardo Israel García Pimentel, of the newspaper "La Opinión in Michoacán", was murdered (see IFEX alerts of 11 and 10 December 2007).

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