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Brazil2 November 2005

Fortaleza newspaper driver shot dead while taking two journalists to slum district

Reporters Without Borders voiced shock today at the murder of José Maria Ramos da Silva, a driver employed by the Diário do Nordeste regional daily, who was shot while accompanying two of its journalists on a visit to a slum in Fortaleza, in the northeastern state of Ceará, on 26 October.

“We extend our most sincere condolences to Ramos da Silva’s family and all the staff of the newspaper for which he worked,” the press freedom organisation said. “This incident serves as a reminder that journalists are not the only ones exposed to danger in this profession and that many media assistants are also killed every year.”

Reporters Without Borders welcomed the fact that police quickly identified suspects.

The shooting occurred when Da Silva, 55, drove reporter Aécio Santiago and photographer José Leomar to a centre used by social workers in the slum district of Favela dos Sandras on the afternoon of 26 October and waited for them outside.

As they emerged from the building on completing their work, they saw Da Silva being held up by a gunman. As they went to look for help, they heard shots. According to an autopsy, Da Silva was shot three times at close range, in the ear, chest and abdomen. He had also been struck in the face many times with great force.

The police have already named the suspected killer. He is Edigleuson “Batata” Monteiro da Silva, 18, an alleged specialist in hold-ups since adolescence who was recently let out of prison, as was his suspected accomplice, José Vandeílson “Vandeco” Campina do Nascimento, 25, at whose home police found the revolver used in the shooting.

They were identified by local shopkeepers who had recently been held up. The police have issued wanted notices for them and have warned that they are dangerous.



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