April 6, 1998, in La Unión, Peru
At 8 p.m., at least 12
men armed with pistols and automatic weapons entered the property of the
Chumpitaz family in the district of La Unión in the northern department of
Piura. The assailants asked Isabel Chumpitaz Panta if she was the journalist,
and when she answered affirmatively, they shot her point blank.
Her husband, José Amaya Jacinto, was shot when he tried to intervene. Her mother, Rosa Panta de Chumpitaz, was beaten after she gave the assailants her jewelry in an attempt to stop them. Chumpitaz's brother Walter was stabbed in the chest and severely wounded. Another brother, Carlos, was shot in both legs. Local authorities, however, described the attack as a robbery, noting that the men fled with television sets, jewelry, money, and the family's pickup truck, which was abandoned in El Indio, in the district of Castilla.
Chumpitaz was well known for her work with media in Piura. She produced "La Voz del Pueblo" (The People's Voice), a show broadcast daily on Radio Satélite, which advocated peasants' rights. She was also known as an opponent of President Alberto Fujimori's re-election bid.
Her husband was a regular contributor to "La Voz del Pueblo." Walter Chumpitaz Panta produces another daily program on Radio Satélite called "Sombrero de Paja" (Straw Hat), which also advocates peasant rights.
Relatives of the slain journalists informed CPJ that a police officer visited them on April 8, the day the victims were buried, and urged them not to pursue the investigation. On April 20, outraged colleagues marched in the streets of Piura to protest the assassination.
Motive Unconfirmed: CPJ is investigating to determine whether the death was work-related.