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Journalist assaulted, threatened in Barranquilla

(FLIP/IFEX) - At approximately 9:00 p.m. (local time) on 1 July 2009, Luis Camacho Montaño, the general coordinator of the daily "La Libertad" in Barranquilla, was assaulted by unidentified individuals who stole his mobile phone and threatened him, referring specifically to his journalism work. Barranquilla is located in the department of Atlántico, on Colombia's northern coast.

The journalist was leaving his office when two armed individuals approached him and snatched his mobile phone. They insulted him and told him that he and other journalists, who were mentioned by name, deserved to die.

Camacho told FLIP that he originally thought that the incident was a hold up but that his assailants then made it clear that their main purpose was to intimidate him. After a few minutes, his assailants left in a taxi with covered licence plates. They did not take any objects of value or the cash the journalist had with him at the time of the assault.

Police Chief Marlon Aux told FLIP that the police department was aware of the actions against Camacho and that orders had been issued to provide protection to the journalist and begin an investigation into the incident.

After Camacho publicised what had taken place, Barranquilla Mayor Alejandro Char released a statement saying that protective measures for local journalists would be reinforced.

FLIP is concerned over the threat against Camacho, especially since other journalists in Barranquilla have also been threatened. The organisation calls on the authorities to ensure that the protective measures announced by the mayor are implemented and urges the National Attorney General's office to ensure that the case is thoroughly investigated in order to find those responsible for the assault on Camacho.

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