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Young journalist killed when entering radio station in Colombia

An unknown assailant fatally shot 25-year-old journalist Flor Alba Núñez Vargas in southwest Colombia on September 10.

Police said that at about noon, Núñez Vargas was walking into radio station La Preferida, located in Pitalito, Huila department, when someone following her shot her in the head and then fled by motorcycle, according to El Tiempo. 

Núñez Vargas was taken to the hospital, but died of her injuries.

Photo of Flor Alba Núñez Vargas from her Twitter account

Police said they were unable to pinpoint a motive. Additionally, La Nación reported authorities said Núñez Vargas had not reported any threats to her life.

Yet the Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP for its acronym in Spanish) pointed to three possible hypotheses. Núñez Vargas “recently published - on her personal Facebook account - photographs of a criminal gang that had carried out a robbery,” according to FLIP. The second and third hypotheses regard coverage of the election process and threats she had received after the publication of an interview about the killing of a dog.

FLIP said it is going to Pitalito to get more information about the case and called on the attorney general to act.

Police have offered a reward to anyone who can provide information about the person who carried out the murder, according to La Nación.

In addition to her work a La Preferida, Núñez Vargas also worked for various television stations and newspapers, including Canal6, Nación TV and newspaper La Nación. Reports describe her as a well-known journalist in Huila.

Accompanying a photo of Núñez Vargas on its Facebook page, La Preferida wrote "We deeply regret the assassination of our journalist, hopefully this will not remain as another act in impunity."

Núñez Vargas is the third journalist to be killed in Colombia this year, though the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a group that monitors violence against journalists, has not confirmed motives in the cases.

Luis Carlos Peralta Cuellar, director and owner of radio station Linda Stereo, was shot on February 14 in Doncello in the department of Caquetá.  Edgar Quintero, journalist at Radio Luna, was fatally shot by an unknown assailant on March 2 in Palmira in the southwest Colombian department of Valle del Cauca.  

CPJ reports that 46 journalists have been killed in Colombia since 1992. The country ranks 8th on the organization's 2014 Global Impunity Index for murders of journalists.


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