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Officer investigating journalist's murder shot dead in Ciudad Juárez

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders is deeply shocked by the murder in Ciudad Juárez, northern Mexico, of an official heading the investigation into the murder of journalist Armando Rodríguez, who was shot dead on 13 November 2008.

Pablo Pasillas, aged 33, who worked for the prosecutor's office, had taken over the case from his superior officer who was himself murdered on 27 July this year.

The bullet-riddled body of Pasillas was found on 26 August in the border city of Ciudad Juárez, where he had, since 27 July, been investigating the murder of Rodríguez, of the local newspaper "El Diario", after his predecessor was shot dead at his home.

Police have said they have not determined if the three deaths are linked, The Associated Press (AP) said. Reporters Without Borders had publicly called on the federal justice minister to explain the delay in the investigation into the journalist's death.

"We offer our sympathy to the family and friends of Pablo Pasillas. This murder is yet another blow to the struggle against impunity in a region mired in drug trafficking," the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

"It is now urgent that every possible means are used to quickly identify those responsible for these murders and to ensure the safety of investigators so that they can do their job without falling victim to the climate of terror. The situation in Ciudad Juárez is extremely disturbing for journalists and for the entire population," the organisation said.

The war between the cartels that plagues the border city has not spared the media. Of the 50 journalists who have been killed in Mexico since the start of 2000, six were working in Ciudad Juárez. With 30 murders per 100,000 inhabitants in 2008, Ciudad Juárez is considered to be the world's most dangerous city by Mexico's Citizen's Council for Public Security (CCSP), which groups representatives of a number of organisations. Some 1,600 murders were recorded in the city in 2008 and 13 people were killed during the night of 26-27 August alone.

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