Colombian journalist allegedly kidnapped by guerrilla group

By Liliana Honorato

A Colombian journalist went missing mid-day Tuesday, July 24, after being held by members of an illegally armed group in the department of Arauca, located in northeast Colombia, on the border with Venezuela, reported the Colombian Federation of Journalists.

Elida Parra Alfonso, journalist for the radio station Sarare Estéreo and official for the Bicentenario Oil Pipeline in Saravena, municipality of Arauca, was forced out of her house and into a vehicle by armed individuals, reported the news outlet Telesur.

Although the Press Freedom Foundation said that authorities said “until this moment no armed group in the area claimed responsibility for the incident,” the news agency EFE reported that it is suspected that the journalist and another woman who disappeared along with her may be in hands of guerrillas of the National Freedom Army (ELN in Spanish).

This would be the second time in 2012 that armed groups in Colombia kidnapped a journalist. The majority of threats against journalists usually come from Colombian guerrillas. At the beginning of July, the guerrillas of ELN spread flyers against the journalistic work of the radio stations Caracol and RCN. The threats coming from paramilitary groups are also a serious problem for Colombian journalists.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.