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  HOME | Colombia (Click here for more)

Mounted Gunman Kills Councilman in Central Colombia

BOGOTA – The chairman of the municipal council in El Castillo, a town in the east-central province of Meta, was killed by a gunman riding a horse, Colombian media reported.

German Herrera Rozo, a Liberal Party member, was visiting a friend Wednesday in the hamlet of Medellin del Ariari, near El Castillo, when the gunman approached, shot him several times and rode off.

An 11-year-old boy was wounded in the attack, but it is not known whether he is related to the councilman or his friend.

President Alvaro Uribe condemned the attack and offered a reward for information leading to the killer’s arrest.

The president ordered National Police chief Gen. Oscar Naranjo to go to El Castillo and provide protection to municipal officials in the area.

El Castillo was controlled several years ago by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrilla group, but the security forces have pretty much regained control of the area, although some rebels still operate in the region.

Officials have not said who was responsible for murdering the 41-year-old Herrera Rozo.

Many El Castillo council members have received death threats from the FARC, Colombia’s oldest and largest leftist guerrilla group, and several now work from Villavicencio, the capital of Meta.

In early September, suspected FARC guerrillas murdered Mariela Narvaez, a councilwoman in Hobo, which is located in the southern province of Huila.

The Colombian Federation of Councilors says that nearly 20 percent of the more than 12,000 council members in the country have left their municipalities and moved to large cities for security reasons.

So far this year, according to a recent report by the federation, at least five municipal council members had been murdered across Colombia. Herrera Rozo’s killing raises the figure to six. EFE
 

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