translated from Spanish: Colombia crime: Mayor’s candidate killed on board a van

The candidate for mayor of Suarez in Colombia’s Cauca department, Karina García, was killed along with five others while mobilizing in a van in that region. The delegate of the Ombudsman’s Office at the site, Jair Muñoz, told The Associated Press that the attack occurred on Sunday night between the areas of Betulia and Bellavista. «A loud explosion was heard and in the early hours of the morning an incinerated vehicle was found. Inside was Suarez’s mayoral candidate, Karina García, and five other lifeless bodies, including Karina’s mother.» A candidate’s escort survived the bombing. Romulus Ramirez, the candidate’s campaign manager, told AP that she was 32, married and had a three-year-old son. A lawyer by profession, she had been campaigning for the mayor’s office for over a year. So far, Ramirez said, you have no idea who might have killed her, but she claimed there were threats against her. «I couldn’t circulate in various sectors of Suarez. They burned and damaged his publicity, wrote threats to him on WhatsApp and we didn’t know why those threats or who made them.» According to the Electoral Observation Mission, a group in Bogota that tracks political violence, Karina García is the fifth candidate to be killed before the regional elections on 27 October in Colombia’s nearly 1,100 municipalities, matching the number of victims of the last local elections, held in 2015.According to the authorities, the candidate’s vehicle was hit by long-range weapons, rifles and a grenade and then incinerated. «We had already given an early warning about the risk of candidates for mayor in that region of Cauca,» said the Ombudsman’s deputy on the spot, Jair Muñoz.He also said that Garcia had received threats and so he had a protection scheme. The Colombian Liberal Party, to which the candidate belonged, noted on Twitter that «we regret and reject the massacre in which miserable terrorists murdered our candidate Karina García Sierra in Suárez». The bloc also demanded «guarantees» from President Ivan Duque in order to participate in the electoral contest. In turn, the deputy director of the police, General Alberto Moreno, noted at a press conference that «we are in solidarity with the families of the victims who were affected and in the next few hours we will give them more concrete information about these facts». He added that the presence of police in that region will be increased and «we are going to examine all the security schemes of the protected, especially of the regional candidates.» The High Commissioner for Peace, Miguel Ceballos, attributed the attack on dissents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia acting in the area. Defense Minister Guillermo Botero noted on Twitter that on president Duque’s instructions «in the next few hours I will be next to the military dome in Cauca, leading the actions against terrorists. Criminals will be prosecuted until they lose the full weight of the law.» Later, the minister announced a reward of up to 150 million pesos (about $45,000) for information from two dissident FARC leaders who would be the perpetrators of the candidate’s murder and noted that an investigation was launched at the site involving the judicial police. The Gulf Clan, the country’s largest cartel, and FARC dissidents operate in that area. In Colombia, regional elections will be held on 27 October to elect governors of the country’s 32 departments, deputies and almost 1,100 municipal mayors.

Original source in Spanish

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