Juan Emilio Andújar Matos

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Andújar was ambushed and killed by gunmen moments after a radio broadcast in which he reported on a bloody crime wave that pitted gang members against police in the southern town of Azua, according to local news reports.

Andújar was host of Radio Azua's weekly show "Encuentro Mil 60" (Encounter 1060) and a correspondent with the Santo Domingo-­based daily Listín Diario. Jorge Luis Sención, a radio reporter who witnessed the attack, was later shot in a second ambush and lost his right forearm to amputation.

The attack came amid an escalating crime wave in Azua, 75 miles (120 kilometers) south of the capital, Santo Domingo. Several Dominican journalists who have reported on the crime surge have been threatened with death and are under police protection, according to press reports.

Andújar left the station at around 9:40 a.m. with colleague Juan Sánchez, a correspondent with the Santo Domingo-­based dailies El Nacional and Hoy. During the show, the reporters discussed the killing that morning of four reputed gang members in a gun battle with police, according to press reports. Andújar and Sánchez, as well as other journalists from Azua, had previously received death threats for their comments about the crime wave.

As the reporters were about to drive their motorcycles away, two motorcyclists shot at them, hitting Andújar in the head as Sánchez took refuge in a nearby fire station, the Dominican press reported. Andújar died an hour and a half later in a local hospital.

Sención, a reporter with Enriquillo Radio in the town of Tamayo, saw the ambush and aided Andújar in the immediate aftermath, according to a local press account. Later that morning, while with his pregnant wife, Sención was assaulted by the same gunmen.

Dominican authorities in Santo Domingo dispatched what was described as an elite police unit and two helicopters to patrol the town.

One suspect, Luis Tejeda Filpo, was shot to death in a gun battle with police on September 15. In 2006, police arrested Vladimir Pujols, leader of the drug trafficking gang "Los Sayayines." In May 2007, a Dominican court sentenced Pujols to 30 years in prison for Andújar's murder and ordered him to pay 1,300,000 pesos (US$40,945) to Sención for the attack.

Andújar, a respected journalist with 20 years' experience, was also a professor at the Technology University of Azua and president of an environmental organization.

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