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Journalist reportedly escapes captors as family members massacred

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has voiced shock on learning that militants killed four members of the family of Din Muhammad, a journalist based in the northwestern Waziristan region, and kidnapped three others on 27 March 2007. A reporter for the Urdu-language newspaper "Inkishaf", Muhammad is one of the few journalists working in this mountainous region next to the Afghan border.

"We urge the appropriate authorities to carry out a thorough investigation and render justice to the Muhammad family," the press freedom organisation said. "We also call on them to do everything possible to free those family members still being held by their abductors. This journalist performs a valuable service in the high-risk Tribal Areas."

Unidentified militants went to the Muhammad family home on 27 March and killed Muhammad Islam, the journalist's 15-year-old brother, Muhammad Amir, his father, and his cousin. They also kidnapped four other close relatives including his uncle, who they killed soon afterwards. The journalist, meanwhile, managed to flee. He reportedly found refuge and is unhurt, according to his editor, Syed Fayyaz Hussain Bokhari.

The attack took place two days after Muhammad accompanied a group of national and international journalists to meet with tribal commanders in Wana. It was the first time news media had entered the war-torn area in several years.

Mustaq Yousafzai, a reporter for the English-language daily "The News", told Reporters Without Borders: "Muhammad played a key role in our trip to Wana."

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