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Photojournalist goes missing in Buenaventura, Valle del Cauca

(FLIP/IFEX) - As of 27 July 2010, photojournalist, camera operator and cinematographer Rodolfo Flórez had been missing for 18 days. Flórez works as a freelancer for media outlets in the city of Buenaventura, Valle del Cauca.

According to local sources, on 9 July Flórez left his residence after receiving a telephone call relating to personal business. He never returned and his whereabouts are unknown.

Aside from his journalism work, Flórez is also the president of a local foundation called "Por una Vida Mejor" (For a Better Life), which promotes artistic, film and journalism projects for youth in the city by way of trainings and other activities. According to a FLIP source in the area, several demobilised paramilitary group members were among the youths that were being trained on issues of community journalism, which could have generated animosity from guerilla groups that operate in the city.

The mayor of Buenaventura, José Félix Ocoró, has asked the commanders of the security forces to increase their efforts to determine the reasons behind Flórez's disappearance and find the journalist.

FLIP contacted Colonel Héctor Treviño, the commander of the Buenaventura police force, who said that a team had been formed to establish the journalist's whereabouts. He said they have found no clues regarding Flórez's disappearance and no evidence of violence having been used against him in a presumed kidnapping. As such they believe he was lured out of his home.

(Please note this is an abridged translation.)

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