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Skyline International is deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic incident involving the loss of two Guatemalan journalists at the hands of unidentified attackers on Friday, August 11. We strongly urge the local authorities to initiate a comprehensive and meticulous investigation into this distressing event and ensure that those responsible for this heinous act are brought to justice.

The brutal assault, which led to the untimely deaths of Edin Alonso and Hugo Gutiérrez, unfolded within the Caballo Blanco municipality situated in the province of Retalhuleu, located in the southwestern region of Guatemala. Alonso and Gutiérrez were en route on a motorcycle, having just covered a story related to the passing of a local woman. Tragically, they were ambushed by unidentified assailants riding a moped, who opened fire multiple times. Regrettably, both journalists sustained gunshot wounds across their bodies and succumbed to their injuries on the spot, as reported by local media sources.

Edin Alonso and Hugo Gutiérrez were actively involved in managing the Noticias Caballo Blanco news platform on Facebook, dedicated to reporting on events within the Caballo Blanco region.

The motive behind this violent attack remains obscured, and any potential links to the journalists' professional activities are yet to be ascertained. Despite the absence of any known eyewitnesses to the crime, Guatemalan law enforcement authorities have indicated their belief that the assault was a deliberate and targeted act directed towards Edin and Gutiérrez, ruling out the possibility of it being a random act of violence.

Skyline International vehemently denounces the tragic loss of Edin Alonso and Hugo Gutiérrez. Scott Griffen, Deputy Director of Skyline International, emphasized, "The Guatemalan authorities must launch an immediate and exhaustive investigation into this tragic incident to ascertain the motives behind it, particularly whether it is connected to their journalistic endeavors. Every individual accountable for these appalling murders, including those who masterminded the crime, must be expeditiously brought to justice."

Since the inauguration of Alejandro Giammattei as president in 2020, Guatemala has witnessed a distressing decline in press freedom, coupled with escalating instances of harassment, assaults, and acts of violence against journalists.

Skyline International has consistently expressed its condemnation concerning the arrest and sentencing of Skyline International World Press Freedom Hero José Rubén Zamora. The charges brought against him, alleged to be politically motivated money laundering, resulted in a six-year prison sentence. Rubén Zamora is a distinguished Guatemalan journalist and the founder of the now-defunct independent newspaper elPeriódico.

In another tragic incident earlier this year, journalist Eduardo Fernando Mendizabal Gálvez was tragically shot and killed on the outskirts of Guatemala City. Within three days of this tragic event, the Public Ministry of Guatemala announced that they were actively pursuing multiple hypotheses regarding the circumstances surrounding his untimely demise.

Furthermore, in the preceding year, Harold Orlando Villanueva, a reporter and proprietor of the online news platform Noticias del Puerto, fell victim to a fatal shooting while engaged in sports activities in Puerto Barrios on March 8, 2022.