Carlos José Restrepo Rocha

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Restrepo Rocha, 44, a community leader who also ran two small regional publications, TanGente and El Día, was kidnapped and killed by alleged members of right-wing paramilitary forces in San Luis, a municipality in the central department of Tolima, according to CPJ sources and local press reports.

At around 4 p.m., at least 10 gunmen who identified themselves as members of the paramilitary United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) burst into a community meeting at the Cucuana dam and abducted Restrepo Rocha. His body was found a few hours later in a rural area of San Luis. He had been shot 11 times in the head and throat; flyers from the AUC were found next to his body, according to CPJ sources.

Restrepo Rocha was a former member of the M-19 guerrilla group. After re-entering civilian life in 1990, he became publisher of the monthly TanGente and editor of the newspaper El Día. He was also one of the founders of the local TV channel “Señal San Luis” and was running as an independent for a seat on the San Luis Municipal Council. TanGente covered local issues, including development projects, sports, and culture. El Día was a specialized publication sponsored by the local water company, Usocoello. It ran stories on water rates, irrigation projects, and other company issues.

CPJ sources said Restrepo Rocha had not requested protection from local police, and that the journalist’s relatives did not know of any threats against him. Police said the motive for Restrepo Rocha’s killing was unclear.