QUITO – Family members of three journalists of Ecuador’s El Comercio newspaper would be arriving in Colombia to identify if the corpses recovered on Thursday in the southern part of the country belonged to the journalists, who were allegedly kidnapped and killed by a dissident faction of the FARC guerillas.
Public prosecutor Wilson Toainga briefed the media about the visit in a press conference and said Colombia’s public ministry had informed them they found four corpses, and three among them could be the kidnapped journalists.
The dead bodies, found near Colombia’s border with Ecuador, are expected to be transferred by Colombian authorities to the city of Cali by Friday morning for forensic and DNA testing.
Colombian authorities had also requested immediate family members to step forward to provide DNA samples, Toainga said.
He added that the forensic examination could take between 24-48 hours, after which the results will be known.
Ecuador’s acting Justice Minister Lilian Garzon had met the families of the victims on Thursday night to coordinate the visit and said the family members would be accompanied by a government delegation.
Javier Ortega, Paul Rivas and Efrain Segarra, all employees of El Comercio, were abducted on March 26 from the Mataje area of Ecuador close to the border, and in April the Ecuadorian authorities had announced that they had been killed by a dissident faction of the FARC, led by Walter Patricio Arizala, also known as “Gaucho.”
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos tweeted on Thursday that authorities had found three dead bodies, which could be of the Ecuadorian journalists.
Later Colombian defense minister Luis Carlos Villegas said that a total of four bodies were recovered.