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Five letter bombs sent to journalists in Ecuador, one explodedFive letter bombs sent to journalists in Ecuador, one exploded

Letter bombs have been sent to five journalists working in different news outlets in the violence-plagued Ecuador, the authorities have confirmed.

One of the letters with USB drives was sent to a journalist at Ecuavisa, a private television station in the port city of Guayaquil.

Interior minister Juan Zapata, who confirmed the “military grade explosives,” said the device exploded after the journalist, Lenin Artieda, inserted it into his computer.

Mr Zapata confirmed the explosion on Monday, saying that Mr Artieda sustained slight injuries to one and his face in the process.

“Three were sent to Guayaquil in the southwest and two to the capital Quito. “The device is indeed the same in all five places,” he added.

Mr Zapata revealed that the envelopes were sent from Quimsaloma, in the coastal province of Los Rios. The minister said letter bombs were a clear message to “silence journalists” in the country.

Also, journalist Carlos Vera was addressed another “package,” but it did not reach his destination. The police intercepted it at a courier company in Guayaquil.

In the same Guayaquil, Ecuador’s southwest, the prosecutor’s office said a letter bomb was also sent to the offices of TC Television.

The Teleamazonas chain said it had also received a USB stick at its offices in Quito “with the same characteristics” as the one sent to Ecuavisa.

The Fundamedios, a non-governmental organisation advocating for press freedom, explained that the three attacks used the same modus operandi.

Envelopes with USB sticks were addressed to Artieda and Mauricio Ayora of TC Television and Milton Perez of Teleamazonas.

“The envelope addressed to Artieda contained a threat against the journalist,” said Fundamedios.

It added that the one sent to Teleamazonas contained a note that read the stick information on “Correismo,” a political movement named after former president Rafael Correa.

Fundamedios said the letters represented “a new escalation in violence against the press.”

The group, however, called for the immediate intervention of the state.

“Any attempt to intimidate journalism and freedom of expression is repugnant,” it added.

The CDH human rights watchdog also condemned the attacks on media “in the context of growing insecurity in Ecuador.”

In 2022, the RTS TV station came under gunfire.

 

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