Colombian authorities said Monday they have thwarted a plot to assassinate two political analysts and a reporter, all linked to conflict observatory Nuevo Arco Iris.
The “imminent threat” was discovered by the National Protection Unit (UNP), a government agency in charge of the protection of threatened civilians.
On his Twitter account, UNP director Andres Villamizar announced increased protection measures for leftist political analyst and Nuevo Arco Iris director Leon Valencia, the director of Nuevo Arco Iris’ conflict observatory, Ariel Avila, and journalist Gonzalo Guillen who had published articles linking former President Alvaro Uribe to drug traffickers on the website of Nuevo Arco Iris.
— Andres Villamizar (@villamizar) May 13, 2013
According to Villamizar, his unit warned police authorities to investigate the plot that allegedly involved an assassin named “Morroncho” who had already arrived in the capital Bogota for the planned killings. Valencia, a long-time government critic, used his own Twitter account to thank Villamizar for the alert.
Agradezco en el alma toda la solidaridad que siento en las redes sociales ante los planes de muerte que nos acechan
— León Valencia (@LeonVaLenciaA) May 14, 2013
In an interview with radio station La FM, Valencia said he expected the alleged assassination plot was the consequence of his efforts to expose relations between Colombia’s political elite and criminal organizations.
Several Colombian journalists have been victim of aggression over the past weeks. Last month, a prominent investigate reporter was injured when an assassin opened fire at him, one local radio journalist from Cali was assassinated and eight journalists from the north of the country were threatened over their reporting on the return of land to displaced farmers.