Peru Journalist Murder Turns Heat on Interior Minister

Motive unclear in Sunday killing of Fernando Raymondi as police dismiss suspects were hitmen

Published by Anadolu Agency Nov 12.

A high ranking Peruvian minister came under criticism Tuesday after police ruled a journalist gunned down on Sunday was the victim of an attempted robbery and not a contract killing related to his work.

Peruvian journalist Rosa Maria Palacios tweeted that Interior Minister Daniel Urresti dismissed the murder of Fernando Raymondi as “nothing more than a robbery”

Under pressure from rising crime and cases of hired killings, the minister downplayed the circumstances of the murder, Palacios alleged.

Urresti responded by saying the allegations were unfounded.

The 22-year-old Raymondi, a student journalist working at Peru’s top newsmagazine Caretas, was investigating a story on local gangs, according to reports by the daily El Popular.

Two men shot him twice in the chest in his father’s grocery store Sunday night in San Vicente de Cañete, a town just south of the capital of Lima. He died on the way to hospital.

According to the daily El Comercio, during his eight months at Caretas, Raymondi investigated a series of killings, including those of construction workers in the town. He also wrote reports about an eviction in the city of Cajamarca and of the girlfriend of a suspended mayor.

Americo Zambrano, editor at Caretas, told Radio Existoso “I can’t go out on a limb and say this was the reason for the killing, but nothing can be ruled out.”

He is the second journalist to die this year in the Andean country as concern rises over crime and contract killers, fanned by increasing drug trafficking activity.

In July, Radio journalist Donny Bucchelli was found dead with his hands tied and blows to the head in a northern region of Peru known for crime. His murder has yet to be solved.

In October, gunmen attacked a radio host in Pichanaki in the central Junin region, killing his wife.

Public insecurity was the leading issue for Peruvians, according to an October survey by pollster GfK. Eighty-four percent of respondents felt “unsafe” walking the streets, it said.

Urresti, who was appointed in June because of his tough on crime stance, has seen his approval ratings dip 8 points since August to 42 percent, according to a poll.

He is currently under investigation in connection with the 1988 murder of journalist Hugo Bustios, who also worked for Caretas.

Bustios was ambushed by soldiers at the height of Peru’s armed conflict in the southern Andean region of Ayachucho.

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