A Medellin human rights leader barely saved his life on Thursday when two men opened fire at his car just outside his native city.
While returning from talks with municipal officials in San Pedro de Los Milagros, a town on the outskirts of Medellin, two masked gunman opened fire on the car carrying Jonatan Echeverri, a leader of the Human Rights Table of the Valley of Aburra wherein Medellin lies.
While en route to the city, a motorcycle pulled up at high speed to Echeverri’s vehicle and began to open fire, letting loose nine shots on the car.
In the midst of the shooting, Echeverri’s bodyguard returned fire on the assassins, causing them to flee.
Ducking under the seat, Echeverri was not hit, and his escort was unharmed as well.
“The response of the escort managed to save his life,” said Carlos Asilah, spokesman for the Bureau.
The attack comes after receiving numerous death threats from the criminal gang, “The Urabeños,” who hope to interrupt the bureau’s investigations into different gang pacts and a host of their illegal activities.
The Medellin city government has recognized the existence of such agreements between the Urabeños and local crime syndicate “Oficina de Envigado,” allegedly arranged by corrupt elements within the city’s political and economical elites.
In an interview with Caracol Radio, Medellin’s security secretary, Arnulfo Serna, said “Clearly there have been agreements between some criminal structures, and there is evidence to prove it, but while such agreements are happening there are still homicides in the city, which is why we don’t understand where the pacts are leading, what their scope and importance is and who is controlling them.”