Another journalist, Jose Ignacio Santiago, was attacked in Mexico on Wednesday after three other journalists have been killed this month.
Santiago stated that he narrowly escaped when a car carrying armed assailants tried to cut his vehicle off on a rural road in southern Oaxaca. He was able to escape by being in the company of two bodyguards that were assigned to him under a government program to protect journalists. Santiago was assigned the bodyguards after he was abducted by a gang in 2017.
The bodyguard driving was able to outmaneuver the attackers, according to Santiago. The assailants opened fire when they saw the car escaping, but Santiago was not injured. Santiago had been taping video in a Triqui Indigenous area, which may have upset one of the groups battling for control of the region.
About 10,000 Triquis live in remote, impoverished communities in the mountains of Oaxaca where three Triqui groups are locked in a decades-long armed struggle that has seen dozens of deaths. In 2010, a Mexican political activist and a Finnish human rights observer were shot to death in the same area.
Two journalists were killed in the border city of Tijuana in just one week. Crime photographer Margarito Martinez was gunned down on Jan. 17 outside his own home. On Jan. 23, reporter Lourdes Maldonado López was found shot to death in her car. Maldonado asked Mexico’s president for help just three years before her death, she stated “because I fear for my life.”
On Jan. 10, reporter José Luis Gamboa was killed in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz.
More than 90 percent of murders of journalists and right defenders remain unresolved. Mexico representative Jan Albert Hootsen stated that the New York-based Committee puts the percentage to 95.
“The ongoing brutality against the journalists in this country is a direct consequence of the authorities’ unwillingness and inability to combat the festering impunity that fuels these killings,” Hootsen said.