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Paramilitary chief confesses he ordered radio journalist's murder

(IPYS/IFEX) - In testimony given between 16 and 18 May 2007, paramilitary chief Juan Francisco Prada Márquez confessed that on 2004 he ordered the murder of journalist Martín Larrota Duarte because Larrota Duarte had opposed the paramilitary umbrella group known as the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia. The paramilitary chief was then the head of the "Héctor Julio Peinado" front, which operated in the south of the department of Cesar. He confessed to the crime as part of the "justice and peace" process taking place in Colombia with former members of the paramilitary groups. (Under this process, paramilitary members receive substantial sentence reductions in exchange for confessing their crimes and disarming.)

Prada revealed that the murder took place on 7 February 2004 in Aguachica, a village in northern Colombia, and that he gave the order to his lieutenant - a.k.a. "Mauricio".

The journalist worked in Palma Estéreo radio station; on his programme he had exhorted the population not to pay the extortion money demanded by the paramilitary groups.

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