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Journalist accuses Wari mayor of organising murder attempt

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 11 November 2007, journalist José Ramírez, a contributor to the newspaper "La Primera", reported having been ambushed earlier the same day on the Wari district's main road by a group of officials of that district, including the mayor, Edward Vizcarrra Zorrilla. The incident took place when he was returning from a commission hearing.

The journalist stated that the vehicle in which he was riding was intercepted by two vans belonging to the municipal council of Wari, a district in the Áncash region, northwestern Peru. Ramírez was with his driver and two friends. The assailants followed his car while shooting into the air, until they had the vehicle cornered on a section of the highway surrounded by rocks.

According to Ramírez, the Wari mayor, district councillors Hubert Solís and Miguel Navas, three members of the council's security force, and the mayor's bodyguards - Guillermo Santiago Figueroa and Miguel Hidalgo Aguilar, who both had guns - then got out of the vans. They approached the journalist's vehicle and forced him and his companions out of it. Ramírez fled, taking cover on a nearby piece of land. He assures IPYS that he heard the mayor ordering his bodyguards to look for him, kill him and throw his body in the river. He waited until the assailants had left before walking back to the city.

The journalist is critical of the mayor's administration and has accused him more than once of acts of corruption. According to the mayor, the reporter and his companions were intercepted because they were painting graffiti against the region's authorities.

Ramírez reported the incident during a press conference. The local police verified that his companions had been injured and are now investigating the case. IPYS assisted in the preparation of a complaint to be dealt with by the Ombudsman.

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