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Colombia11 August 2006

Community radio presenter gunned down near Cali

Reporters Without Borders voiced outrage today at the murder of Miltón Fabián Sánchez in Yumbo, a town near the southwestern city of Cali. A presenter for community radio station Yumbo Estéreo, Sánchez was shot on 9 August by hooded gunmen who got away on a motorcycle.

“We call on the attorney general’s office to quickly investigate this murder, giving priority to the possibility that it was linked to the victim’s work as a journalist,” the press freedom organisation said. “The facts must be established and the case must be pursued to the end, until those responsible have been convicted and punished, as there is too much impunity for the instigators of murders such as this one.”

Aged 37, Sánchez was shot three times outside his home on the evening of 9 August. He was rushed to La Buena Esperanza hospital in Yumbo and then to El Valle University hospital, where he died of his injuries yesterday morning. Security officials of the department of El Valle held an immediate meeting, announcing a 23-hour curfew for minors and imposing curbs on the use of motorcycles.

Sánchez had worked for Estéreo Yumbo since 2004, presenting programmes that dealt with such issues as human rights, politics, public services and violent crime. His preference for community issues was linked to his interest in the Yumbo municipal council’s community action programme and the fact that he ran the council’s press office under the previous administration.

The Cali police chief, Col. Orlando Vivas, said the motive had not yet been established and could just as easily be linked to his personal life as his work as a journalist. Estéreo Yumbo director Rodrigo Mosquera said he was unaware of Sánchez belonging to any group, political or otherwise.

Sánchez is the second journalist to have been killed in Colombia since January 2006. A total of 69 others have received threats, which have forced some of them to flee the country.

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