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Journalist escapes second murder attempt

PRESS FREEDOM ALERT
Reporters Sans Frontières

6 April 2000

Philippines: Journalist escapes second murder attempt

In a letter sent to the interior minister, Alfredo Lim, Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) said it was deeply concerned for the safety of Zamzamin Ampatuan, a broadcaster at the Roman Catholic radio station dxMS, who escaped a second attempt to murder him. RSF welcomed the security measures taken by the government and asked the minister to reinforce its protection. RSF also asked the minister to "open an inquiry to identify and punish the assailants".

According to the information collected by RSF, on the night of 27 March about ten armed people attempted to kill Zamzamin Ampatuan, presenter of the "Radio Kalimudan" programme broadcast by the Roman Catholic station dxMS. The journalist was on his way home after recording his programme in Cotabato City, Mindanao island. The assailants ambushed his vehicle and opened fire with automatic rifles. One of the journalist's bodyguards, Arturo Maraya, was killed and five others injured. The journalist was wounded in the left foot and spent five days in hospital. Earlier, on 27 February, a bomb exploded outside the radio building when Zamzamin Ampatuan was recording his programme. Police and dxMS staff have accused militants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) of being behind the attacks. A police report identified Jack Abdullah, alias Commander Putao, as the person responsible for the last attempt, but an MILF spokesman denied the allegations. In his broadcasts, Zamzamin Ampatuan has criticised the MILF and called for religious dialogue in the country.

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