Colombian politicians with ties to a criminal group are behind an alleged plot to assassinate two conflict analysts and a reporter, newspaper El Tiempo reported Wednesday.
According to the newspaper, authorities investigating the alleged assassination plot identified two politicians from Colombia’s Caribbean region who are implicated in the alleged plans to assassinate conflict analysts Leon Valencia and Ariel Avila, and reporter Guillermo Guillen — all three linked to conflict monitoring NGO Nuevo Arco Iris.
Valencia told Caracol Radio that Nuevo Arco Iris’ reporting on neo-paramilitary involvement in the 2011 local elections and the ongoing peace process with rebel group FARC may be one reasons politicians and neo-paramilitaries aligned.
“It is happening as the 2011 investigations on parapolitics are looked at again. There could be a relation with this, but also the peace process,” the investigator and former guerrilla said on Caracol Radio.
Both El Tiempo and Valencia point to the Caribbean region, a stronghold of neo-paramilitary group “Los Urabeños“, as the origin of the politicians behind the assassination plot.
According to El Tiempo, sources close to the case have said that authorities have already identified two politicians from the Caribbean region who are suspected to be behind the plot.
The alleged plot was revealed Monday by the director of the National Protection Unit, a government agency in charge of the protection of threatened citizens.
On Tuesday, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos condemned the alleged plans to kill the investigators while Prosecutor General blamed neo-paramilitary groups of trying to undermine the peace talks with the FARC through the killing and threatening of journalists and analysts.
Several Colombian journalists have been victim of an apparent increase in 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.