Colombian mayor assassinated - eighth this year

Agence France Presse
19 September 1999

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BOGOTA -- Two men riding on a motorcyle shot dead the mayor of the town in southern Colombia where guerrilla and government negotiators have been meeting to try to end the country's civil war, police said.

Marco Londono, mayor of Vista Hermosa, was gunned down in a residential neighborhood of Villavicencio, the capital of Meta province, regional police chief Colonel Mario Gutierrez said.

Londono, 47, was already dead when he arrived at the hospital, Gutierrez said, adding that his young nephew, a minor, was wounded in the attack.

Vista Hermosa is one of five towns in the 42,000-square-kilometer (16,000-square-mile) zone that President Andres Pastrana ordered demilitarized in November 1999, as a condition for talks between the government and rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Londono's death brings to eight the number of Colombian mayors that have been assassinated this year, according to the country's Federation of Municipalities.

Sixty others have received death threats, and 270 have had to "share" their municipal budgets with FARC rebels or rightist paramilitaries, the group said.

© 1999 Agence France Presse