Journalist killed in northern Colombia

Agence France Presse
17 September 1999

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BOGOTA -- A Colombian journalist who investigated death squad activities was killed late Thursday in the city of Valledupar, 860 kilometers (533 miles) north of Bogota, his colleagues told AFP.

Quintero Torres, 35, who has been editor-in-chief of the newspaper El Pilon for the past eight months, was attacked by a man with a handgun when he and his two colleagues were leaving a hotel in downtown Valledupar, newspaper workers said.

Seven people have been arrested in the area since Thursday night, and an investigation is under way to find out if any of those detained have any connection to the murder, a high-ranking police official told AFP Friday.

Torres' former colleagues recalled that four years ago he received a death threat from right-wing paramilitary groups, who appeared to be unsettled by his articles about killings of civilians in northern Colombia.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, more than 100 journalist has been assassinated in Colombia in the last 11 years.

The country, which is in the grip of one of the longest civil wars in Latin America, is considered one of the most dangerous for journalists to work in.

© 1999 Agence France Presse