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Fifth Mexican journalist killed this year

(IPI/IFEX) - Vienna, 12 April 2010 - A Mexican journalist who was kidnapped last week was found dead on Saturday.

Enrique Villicana Palomares, a columnist with the Voice of Michoacan newspaper, was reported missing late last week after failing to arrive for a university writing course that he teaches, media reports said.

The reporter's body was found with his throat slit on Saturday in the Michoacan state capital, Morelia, federal prosecutors were quoted by AP as saying. Investigators have yet to establish whether his murder was in relation to his work as a journalist.

"We condemn the brutal murder of Enrique Villicana Palomares, and call on the Mexican authorities to promptly investigate whether Mr. Villicana's death was linked to his work," said IPI Press Freedom Manager Anthony Mills. "Journalists are now being murdered with such chilling regularity in Mexico that the world risks becoming inured to their killings. This must not be allowed to happen. The Mexican government must do everything in its power to end this shameful epidemic of journalist murders."

Villicana's family told press freedom observers that the journalist had reported on attacks by armed groups against the Purepecha indigenous group, of which he was also a member.

Villicana is the fifth journalist in Mexico to be killed this year, according to the IPI Death Watch. Most were murdered in connection with their reporting on drug crime.

Also in Michoacan state, reporter Ramon Angeles Zalpa has been missing since 6 April, when the "Cambio de Michoacan" correspondent left the town of Paracho to teach at a nearby university, according to news reports. Like Villicana, Angeles reportedly covered attacks against members of indigenous communities in the region.

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