BOGOTA (Reuters) - A gunman killed a Colombian journalist who had received threats and reported on politicians linked to paramilitary death squads, police and the victim’s family said on Saturday.
Clodomiro Castilla, an editor of El Pulso magazine and a reporter for local radio, was shot to death on Friday night as he read a book on the terrace of his home in Monteria city in the north of the Andean country.
Colombia’s decades-long internal war has eased after President Alvaro Uribe sent troops to take back areas under control of rebels and paramilitaries. But journalists are still occasionally targeted by armed groups and cocaine traffickers.
“When the journalist was sitting reading a book on his terrace, he was approached by a gunman, who shot him several times and fled on a motorcycle,” said Colonel Pedro Angelo Franco, a state police commander.
The journalist’s family said he had received death threats but declined a government offer of protection.
Castilla, 49, was killed in Cordoba State where in the 1980s paramilitary squads were formed by landowners, ranchers and drug traffickers to defend themselves against leftist rebels fighting the state.
Several lawmakers and mayors from the region have been jailed for making deals with the outlawed militias to guarantee their election.
Former paramilitary commanders demobilized their fighters after reaching a peace deal with Uribe’s government. But human rights groups say remnants of the paramilitary gangs are still active and running drugs.
Colombia was once considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists to work. More than 100 reporters were killed during the 1980s and 1990s by cocaine traffickers, rebels and paramilitaries.
Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Xavier Briand