QUITO – The family members of the three journalists kidnapped and killed on the Colombia-Ecuador border in April expressed regret on Friday that the person believed responsible for their deaths was not captured alive.
El Comercio newspaper employees Javier Ortega, Paul Rivas and Efrain Segarra were abducted on March 26 from the Mataje area of Ecuador close to the Colombia border.
Their bodies were found in June, allegedly killed by a dissident faction of the FARC led by Walter Patricio Arizala, also known as “Gaucho.”
“No death is cause for celebration. Although we acknowledge the work carried out by the Colombian authorities, it is regrettable that the man behind the kidnapping and murder of five people is shot dead instead of being captured alive,” the families said in a joint statement.
The statement was issued soon after Colombian President Ivan Duque announced on Friday that his forces had killed the dissident rebel leader.
“With his death, the possibilities of accessing the information he possessed have also died. Not just about Paul, Javier and Efrain but also about (other victims) Oscar Villacis, Katy Velasco and the links between narco-trafficking organizations and Ecuadorian institutions,” the statement added.
Guacho, thought to be responsible for the killing of five civilians and four Ecuadorian soldiers between January and April 2018, was killed in a Colombian security forces operation on Friday in the forest areas of Narino district, near the border with Ecuador.
The family members of the three journalists have called a press conference early on Saturday and said Gaucho’s death could not be called justice.
“There are still many questions that have not been answered and many doubts that neither Ecuador nor Colombia have been ready to clear. We will continue demanding that the absolute truth should be revealed about all the facts surrounding the heinous crime against the three who disappeared,” they said.
The families insisted that only half of the truth had been revealed and added that the Ecuadorian state, by demanding the discontinuation of the precautionary measures ordered by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, was helping in “establishing a road to impunity.”