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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Man accused of killing young Colombian journalist sent to jail



A judge ordered to jail a man accused of killing young Colombian journalist Flor Alba Núñez, reported newspaper El Colombiano.

Nunez was killed on September 10 in the town of Pitalito, of the department of Huila (in southern Colombia) by a man who shot her in the head just as she was preparing to enter the radio station La Preferida where she worked.

Flor Alba Núñez Vargas. (Photo from her Twitter account)

The capture of Juan Camilo Ortiz, alias 'Camilo' or 'el Loco', took place on September 26 at a police checkpoint in the village of El Palmito, in the department of Sucre (in northern Colombia), reported Semana magazine. El Colombiano reported that police said he fled Huila after allegedly committing the murder of the journalist.

According to the authorities, 'Camilo' has a criminal record. The most recent action concerned an arrest for the attempted murder of another woman in Pitalito, for which he had been granted house arrest, according to El Colombiano. That ended on September 9.

Police told Semana that during the raid on the house where ‘Camilo’ had been staying, authorities found an altar for Santeria, which they said is a practice that appears to be common among some hitmen.

The Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP for its acronym in Spanish) celebrated the progress in the investigation and added that it hopes that it will serve as a first step to punish those materially and intellectually responsible for the crime.

Regarding Núñez’s murder, there also is an order for the arrest of another man who is presumed to have driven the motorcycle on which the murderer escaped. The authorities offered a reward of 100 Colombian million pesos (approximately USD $ 32,000) for anyone who provides information leading to his capture.

In a separate incident, another journalist was killed in the countrythis past weekend. Nimia Peña Pedrozo was killed in the early mornings hours of September 27, apparently for resisting a robbery in the city of Valledupar, department of Cesar (in northeastern Colombia), reported Colprensa.

The Circle of Journalists of Valledupar (CPV for its acronym in Spanish) called for the facts to be clarified in order to know "if the crime is linked to journalistic practice or to another situation,” said the organization’s president, according to the newspaper El Tiempo. To show their rejection of crime, reporters from the city held a protest on Monday, the newspaper said.



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