Two journalists shot and killed in Colombia

Two journalists shot and killed in Colombia: Police

News World

Two journalists were shot and killed in Colombia on Sunday by assailants on a motorcycle. The duo was returning from covering a carnival, police said. Both worked for a news website called Sol Digital based in the northern town of Fundacion on the Caribbean coast, and they were identified as Leiner Montero Ortega, 37, and Dilia Contreras Cantillo, 39, said Andres Serna, police chief in the department of Magdalena. 

Serna later convened an emergency meeting of police officials in Fundacion. The reporters were reportedly driving back to Fundacion from the town of Santa Rosa de Lima, where they had covered a street festival, when the attackers shot them, Serna said. He said another person was wounded, but it is unclear whether this persom was a journalist as well or a civilian.

Police believes that the shooting happened as a result of an argument or altercation at the carnival. But the Free Press Foundation urged police “to take into account Leiner and Dilia’s work as journalists” as they investigate the crime. As per the foundation, last year 768 journalists in Colombia suffered some kind of violence, including killings. 

“We are committed to the citizens of Magdalena to resolve in the shortest possible time this sad case involving two journalists who were highly appreciated among their union, family and acquaintances,” Serna added.

The government says that Fundacion is among the worst in Colombia in terms of violence, poverty, black market economic activity and weak government institutions. Since a peace accord with leftist FARC rebels was signed in 2016, 10 reporters in Colombia have been killed, AFP reported.

Reporters without Borders says that Colombia is the third most dangerous Latin America country for journalists after Venezuela and Mexico. “We condemn the killing of journalists,” said Juan Pappier, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. 

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