Published On: Thu, May 26th, 2016

Journalists Salud Hernandez, Diego D’Pablos and Carlos Melo go missing in Colombia

(CNN) Three journalists covering the cartels and Marxist guerrilla infested areas of Colombia have gone missing. First was Spanish journalist Salud Hernandez, who went missing while working on a story in Catatumbo, a remote region in northern Colombia with a heavy guerrilla and organized crime presence.

Then Colombian TV network RCN said two of its journalists, correspondent Diego D’Pablos and cameraman Carlos Melo, disappeared in the same region while covering the disappearance of Hernandez.
RCN news director Claudia Gurisatti told CNN en Español on Tuesday that a government human rights official first confirmed the disappearance of her network’s journalists.
Salud Hernandez

Salud Hernandez

“They called us and said that, ironically, the group of journalists who were covering what people in the area knew about Salud’s disappearance had themselves been attacked. Their belongings, including their equipment, cameras, computers, communication equipment, telephones, were taken from them,” Gurisatti said.

Illegal crops are Catatumbo’s economic engine, according to Gurisatti. In addition to drug traffickers, the Marxist guerrilla National Liberation Army, or ELN, also has heavy presence in the area. Gurisatti said security forces are “nonexistent” there.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos told reporters in Bogota that he ordered an army commander and the director of national police to travel to the region to oversee search efforts.
“For now, our hypothesis at the prosecutor’s office is that this is a disappearance. As soon as we have any real evidence that this could be a kidnapping, we will announce,” said Jorge Perdomo, the national public prosecutor.
The disappearances of the three journalists, if they were in fact kidnapped, may become an obstacle for peace talks between the Colombian government and two guerrilla groups: the ELN and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
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- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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