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Monday December 11th, 2017 11:30PM

U2's Bono asks Argentine president about missing activist

By The Associated Press
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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — U2's lead singer Bono asked Argentina's president on Monday about an activist who went missing after police cleared protesters from a highway more than two months ago.

Bono said he spoke to President Mauricio Macri about Santiago Maldonado during a meeting in Buenos Aires and that he was "glad" that Macri is taking the case "seriously."

The Irish singer and social activist is a member of Amnesty International, which has demanded answers in a case that has turned problematic for Macri's government as human rights groups accuse it of being part of a cover up.

In a statement, Argentina's presidency said Macri told Bono about "all the actions that have been carried out to locate the whereabouts of the young man and the permanent cooperation that is being given to the justice system to clear up the case."

Maldonado, an artisan and tattoo artist, went missing on Aug. 1. Protesters were demanding the release of a jailed Mapuche indigenous leader and the return of lands belonging to Italian clothing company Benetton that are claimed by the Mapuche as their ancestral territory.

Witnesses say border police detained Maldonado after he and others blocked a road in Chubut province, about 1,100 miles (1,800 kilometers) southwest of the Argentine capital. Authorities deny wrongdoing.

But the disappearance has hit a raw nerve in Argentina, where human rights groups estimate about 30,000 people died or were forcibly disappeared during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship.

Tens of thousands of Argentines have staged protests in streets demanding the government find the 28-year-old alive, while politicians from opposing political parties, soccer players and celebrities have joined a social media campaign under the slogan: "Where is Santiago Maldonado?"

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