QUITO – A camera, a notebook and a car key were the objects used in Quito to bid farewell to the team of Ecuadorian journalists who were kidnapped and murdered in March, near the border with Colombia.
Colleagues from El Comercio newspaper placed these symbolic objects near the altar during the Mass held at La Dolorosa church to remember the three slain journalists.
Hundreds of people accompanied the loved ones of the deceased during the funeral, in which the journalists’ coffins were covered with the Ecuadorian flag, while floral arrangements were placed next to the pictures of presenter Efrain Segarra, reporter Javier Ortega, and photographer Paul Rivas.
The three men were kidnapped and killed by dissident members of the now-disbanded Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group.
Yadira Aguagallo, Rivas’s girlfriend, repeated the phrase “nobody is tired” that has been chanted during street protests after the kidnapping was announced, a phrase used to reflect the feeling that Ecuadorians would not rest until the missing journalists were found.
“Nobody is tired because peace is a job that must be done every day. Nobody should feel tired of seeking truth and justice,” said Aguagallo, herself a journalist.
Fernando Salvador, Rivas’s friend and fellow photographer, recalled the difficult moments that the friends and family members of the slain journalists have endured since March, saying that they would not rest until the case is solved.
Ortega, Rivas, and Segarra were abducted on March 26 in the northern Ecuadorian province of Esmeraldas while investigating a recent surge of violence along the border with Colombia.
On April 14, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno confirmed that the three press workers had been killed by men at the command of Walter Patricio Arizala, a 27-year-old Ecuadorian and former FARC member known as “Guacho.”
The governments of Ecuador and Colombia have posted large rewards for information leading to the capture of Guacho.