The journalists Dilia Contreras and Leiner Montero were shot to death at dawn on Sunday in the department of Magdalena, in northern Colombia, in an incident that is still under investigation. Montero and Contreras were returning from covering the patron saint festivities of the town of Santa Rosa de Lima, in the municipality of Fundación. After leaving the party they were intercepted by two subjects on a motorcycle who shot them repeatedly.
The mayor of Fundación, Carlos Sierra, confirmed that the communicators were at the celebrations and that the incident was under investigation. “We have convened an extraordinary security council to know the information that the police have collected,” Sierra said, according to Colombian radio station Caracol, and assured that apparently Montero had had an argument at the partyalthough he clarified that he was waiting for confirmation from the authorities.
Montero, who was driving the car, and Contreras, who was co-pilot, died immediately. as a result of the fatal injuries caused by the projectiles fired at them by two people on board a motorcycle. Both journalists were recognized in the department of Magdalena: Montero was the director and owner of the station and portal Sol Digital Stereo, and Contreras worked in several media outlets in Santa Marta and Bogotá.
Local media reported that Joaquín Gutiérrez was also injured in the incident, who was in the back of the vehicle and is recovering from his injuries at the Fundación hospital. The Magdalena police commander, Andrés Serna, said that he did not rule out that it had been a robbery of social communicators. “The testimony of the third occupant will be transcendental to have a clear hypothesis of the facts and to be able to identify the authors”, he pointed out.
It is unknown at the moment if the events have anything to do with the work of the journalists or who is behind these murders, although in the area there is the presence of several criminal groups such as the Clan del Golfo and other groups dedicated to drug trafficking such as Los Pachenca or the Oficina Caribe. “It is urgent that the police and the Prosecutor’s Office investigate and take into account the reporting work they were doing”demanded the Foundation for Press Freedom (Flip).
This is the first murder of journalists that occurs this 2022 in Colombia. The last one, according to Flip, was that of Marcos Efraín Montalvo on September 19, 2021, the only one that year that occurred in Valle del Cauca, in the southwest of the country. According to the foundation, since October 1938 with the case of Eudoro Galarza Ossa, In Colombia, 162 journalists were murdered for reasons of their own doing.