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Journalist targeted by hired assassins

(OLA/IFEX) - On 26 May 2011, a hired gunman tried to kill journalist Héctor Rodríguez Castro, director of La Veterana radio station, based in Popayán, Cauca department.

The incident occurred at 5:30 a.m., as the journalist was arriving at the radio station. He was getting out of his car when an unidentified individual approached him, pulled out a gun and fired at him. Rodríguez was saved thanks to the rapid response of his two bodyguards.

The assailant tried to flee the scene along with his accomplice, who was waiting for him on a motorcycle. They were chased by the police and captured after an exchange of fire. One of the gunmen was shot and taken to hospital where he remained under police custody.

The police found a submachine gun with a silencer, a grenade and a revolver in the gunmen's possession.

According to the journalist, the attack may be linked to his reporting on the interference by Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerillas in the El Patía municipal elections. It may also be related to his reporting on corruption involving various local figures, including some politicians.

Rodríguez has received a number of threats in the past. On three occasions, he asked the Prosecutor's Office to provide him with protection after he was declared a "military target" by the commander of the FARC's eighth battalion.

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