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Colombia12 April 2002

Media contributor and journalist killed near Cali

The cameraman of RCN, Héctor Sandoval, died in the hospital Departamental del Valle the 12 April.


11.04.2002 - Media contributor killed, journalist wounded, near Cali

In a letter addressed to Gustavo Bell Lemus, Colombia’s Vice President and Minister of Defence, Reporters without Borders [Reporters sans frontières (RSF)] protested against shots that were fired-allegedly by the army-on a RCN Televisión network news crew. During the incident, Walter López, the driver of the vehicle, was killed, and Héctor Sandoval, the cameraman, seriously wounded. "Since some members of the military may be implicated in this attack, it is imperative that an investigation be initiated and that its results be made public as soon as possible," stated Robert Ménard, RSF’s General Secretary.

According to information gathered by RSF, a RCN Televisión news crew was shot at on 11 April 2002 on the outskirts of Cali, in the Valle department (of south-western Colombia). The team was covering the operations being carried out in the area by the army and police forces, in response to the abduction of twelve legislators by guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The journalists who were attacked reported that, despite their efforts to be recognized in their professional capacity, their convoy was fired upon by the Army, which was conducting air strikes at the time. Walter López, the driver of the vehicle transporting the journalists, was killed during the incident and television cameraman Héctor Sandoval was seriously wounded. Luz Estella Arroya, RCN’s Cali correspondent, fortunately sustained no injury. Two other journalists working for the Semana weekly newspaper Semana and the El Tiempo daily, who were also on the site, also escaped injury. Although the journalists hold the military responsible for this incident, Colonel Carlos Arévalo, the commander of the army’s anti-kidnapping squad, has denied any army involvement in this assault, thereby incriminating the FARC.



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