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Journalists warned of alleged plot by former police commander to attack them over critical coverage

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 15 April 2008, a person identifying himself as a member of the State of Lara's Police Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas Policiales, FAP) phoned "El Impulso" newspaper's press office in Caracas warning about an alleged plan for an attack on journalists Carmen Julia Viloria and Juan Bautista Salas by FAP personnel and former FAP commander Jesús Armando Rodríguez Figuera. "El Impulso" is published in the city of Barquisimeto, capital of the state of Lara.

The call was received by the head of correspondents in Caracas, Bautista Salas. He pointed out that the caller revealed to him that on 13 April about 15 FAP members, negatively affected by Viloria's recent investigations, met with the former commander to plan a strategy to stop the articles from being published and to frighten the journalists.

Investigations carried out by Viloria have revealed information obtained from a Lara police commission (Comisión Delegada de la Inspectoría General) about alleged irregularities during Rodríguez Figuera's administration.

On 16 April, Viloria approached the State Prosecutor General's office to request an investigation into the alleged plot. She also asked for personal protection.

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