Two married journalists in Honduras have survived an attack by gunmen who they say wanted to kill them.

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Johnny Lagos, the director of the online news site El Libertador, and his wife, Lurbin Yadira Cerrato, were leaving Thursday night from the newspaper’s offices in the Palermo neighborhood of Tegucigalpa when the attack happened. 

Lagos’ son, who is also named Johnny Lagos, told a news conference that his father survived the attack unharmed. Cerrato was slightly injured.

"The strangers did not want to rob me, they tried to kill me," the older Lagos said.

The couple had left the news site’s offices when Lagos said he got out of the car to buy something and one of the three attackers intercepted him.

Lagos said at first he tried to simulate a robbery, asking for his wallet and phone. But then the attacker yelled to his accomplices, "It’s him, kill him," Lagos said. "And I heard at least five shots."

The national police force said in a statement on Friday that the attack on the couple was an attempted robbery. 

"It was a robbery, and the individuals used guns and endangered the lives of the victims," ​​the statement said without giving further details.

The car which Lagos and his wife were traveling in had numerous bullet holes and the front glass was shattered, police said.

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However, the press group Committee for Free Expression described the incident as "a political attack" in which "this government is trying to silence independent journalists once and for all."

El Libertador newspaper, which has an online version and a monthly print edition, has been critical of plans by President Juan Hernandez to run for office again, despite a constitutional prohibition on re-election.

Some 70 journalists have been killed in Honduras in the last 10 years, but only three cases have been clarified so far by authorities.  

The Center for Investigation and Promotion of Human Rights in Honduras, or Ciprodeh, also condemned the attack on the journalists.

“This criminal action is an expression of a state incapable of guaranteeing security to its inhabitants, much less the free exercise of the press," it said.



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