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Journalists denounce alleged murder plot by Shining Path guerilla group

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 19 December 2007, journalists José Saldaña, Daniel Grández and Ketty Vela told IPYS that they had found out, through a reliable source, that individuals alleged to be terrorists are following them in order to murder them. The journalists reside in Tocache, San Martín region, northeastern Peru.

Vela told IPYS that on 5 December, a source reported to her that several unidentified persons were prowling around the area looking for her. According to the source, when they asked after Vela they told him that they were looking for her for "a cleaning job in town."

The same source told Vela that she had been included in a list, which also includes Saldaña and Grández, of people that are to be eliminated by orders of Peru's Communist Party - Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso), and that the decision had been made on 3 December during a meeting in a settlement near Tocache.

The journalists do not rule out that the threat is a response to information they broadcast about drug trafficking and terrorism in the region, as well as their express rejection of violence. Saldaña works for Radio Libertad's "Impacto" programme; Grández works for Radio Emmanuel's programme, "Prensa sin Fronteras", and Vela for Radio Marginal's programme, "El Sembrador".

They also told IPYS that they are tired of going to the police to report the constant harassment of which they are the victims and of requesting protection from the local government, as their requests are paid no heed, in spite of this being a region in which drug trafficking and terrorism operate constantly.

IPYS requests that the Department of the Interior order that the journalists' complaints be attended to.

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