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Peru31 December 2004

Journalist rescued after three days in captivity

Duber Mauriola Labán, the radio journalist who was kidnapped by a group of armed peasants in northwestern Peru on 27 December, was finally released yesterday as a result of a police operation.

Reporters Without Borders had written to interior minister Javier Reátegui Roselló on 28 December asking him to intervene to rescue Mauriola. The organisation reiterates its call for an investigation to identify those responsible for his abduction.

The local police said Mauriola bore the marks of blows on his face and body when rescued. After being abducted from a local radio station in Huancabamba (in the province of Piura), he was forced to walk for nearly 10 hours to the village of Huancacarpa, where his kidnappers left him tied up in the main square.

A police spokesman said the peasants who were holding Mauriola would not be prosecuted, but four people in Huancabamba have been detained for inciting the kidnapping.


28.12.04

Peasants kidnap and beat radio journalist

Reporters Without Borders today urged the Peruvian authorities to move quickly to rescue journalist Duber Mauriola Labán, who was abducted from Radio Centinela in Huancabamba (in the northwestern province of Piura) by a group of angry peasants on 27 December. His family has had no word of him since an unsuccessful rescue attempt later that day.

"As this journalist’s life is in great danger, we call on you to act as quickly as possible to restore him to safety," the organisation said in a letter to interior minister Javier Reátegui Roselló. "We also ask you to order an investigation and keep us informed of its progress," the letter added.

Mauriola was abducted from the radio station on the morning of 27 December by some 50 local peasants armed with machetes, sticks and knives, who gave him a severe beating, undressed him and then made him walk to Huancacarpa, a hamlet several hours away.

Eight policemen tried to rescue him in the afternoon but were completely outnumbered and withdrew. A prosecutor and police reinforcements from Lima were being awaited in order to try to restore order but in the meantime Mauriola’s family know nothing of his fate.

The peasants, who are members of the Huancabamba self-defence committee, accuse Mauriola of defending the interests of the Majaz mining company, which they say is polluting the area. Self-defence committees were promoted between 1980 and 2000 as a way of combatting the Shining Path guerrillas in areas with few police.



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