Juan Carlos Benavides Arévalo

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Benavides, a 29-year-old host for the community radio station Manantial Estéreo, was shot dead when the vehicle in which he was traveling was fired on at a checkpoint reportedly guarded by members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) near the town of Puerto Caicedo, in southern Colombia.

Benavides died at about 6:15 p.m., after being shot when his driver decided to elude the checkpoint. The journalist hosted the morning radio program “Panorama Informativo” (News Outlook) on Manantial Estéreo, which is run by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Putumayo Department, in the town of Sibundoy.

Also in the car was Jaime Conrado Juajibioy Cuarán, 24, who worked on Benavides’ program. Juajibioy was seriously injured in the attack and was taken to a hospital for treatment, according to CPJ sources.

According to local press reports, the rebels who shot at the vehicle were FARC members. However, government forces, right-wing paramilitary militias, and drug lords-in addition to the FARC-are also known to control checkpoints in the region.

On September 3, the Colombian military reported that two FARC rebels who had allegedly shot Benavides were killed in a confrontation with the army. Army officials said the rebels had set up a checkpoint in the area where the journalist was killed, the Bogotá-based daily El Espectador reported.

Benavides and Juajibioy were traveling with a group including local politicians from Sibundoy to the town of Puerto Asís, where they had planned to cover a meeting between Colombian President Álvaro Uribe and regional leaders. At the meeting, Uribe said that FARC rebels had been trying to attack him during his visit there, The Associated Press reported.