Just a week after radio Línea Directa crime reporter José Luis Romero was kidnapped in the northern state of Sinaloa, two other journalists were kidnapped yesterday in Coahuila, another northern state, and one of them, Valentín Valdés Espinosa, was found dead today.
According to his newspaper, the Zócalo de Saltillo daily, Valdés was found with a warning message pinned to his chest, a practice often used by drug traffickers. His colleague, whose name was withheld by the newspaper, was released a few hours after the abduction.
The two journalists were driving home after work in the city of Saltillo when gunmen intercepted them at about 10:45 pm forced to get into their pickup. A third journalist who was with them was not abducted.
“The year has begun tragically for Mexican journalists,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The federal authorities are obliged to investigate this case as an armed group is involved. We hope they quickly identify those responsible.”
Another Zócalo de Saltillo reporter, Rafael Ortiz Martínez, has never been found after he went missing in 2006. He had written several stories involving drug trafficking.
Valdés, who helped to launch the Zócalo de Saltillo, was responsible for local coverage.
A battleground between rival cartels for the control of drug-trafficking, northern Mexico is one of the world’s most dangerous regions for journalists. A total of 60 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000 while 10 have gone missing since 2003. Mexico was ranked 137th out of 175 countries in the 2009 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.