Shots fired at Colombian journalist

Unidentified men riding a motorcycle on January 27, 2017, fired gunshots at Edwin Montiel, news director of the radio station Frontera Stereo, in the northern Colombian city of Maicao, according to news reports. Montiel, who often reports on criminal gangs and smuggling in Maicao, a town located near the Venezuelan border, was unhurt in the attack.

Montiel told CPJ that the attack occurred around 9 p.m. when he was driving home from work. Two men aboard a motorcycle fired four times hitting his car three times, he said. Montiel said he jumped out of the vehicle, took cover, and that the gunmen drove away.

Montiel, 49, directs news coverage at Frontera Stereo where he also co-hosts the half-hour daily call-in program “La Voz del Pueblo” (The Voice of the People). He told CPJ he thinks he was attacked because callers on the program often denounce crimes carried out by local gangs, drug traffickers, and contraband smugglers who operate along the border between Colombia and Venezuela.

Col. Tito Castellano, commander of the National Police La Guajira state, which includes Maicao, said the case was under investigation, according to Bogotá’s Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP). Montiel told CPJ that the government’s National Protection Unit has provided him with a bodyguard, a protective vest, and a mobile phone.

Montiel said that he has temporarily suspended his participation in “La Voz del Pueblo” while he consults with police about the level of threat he faces.