CALI, Colombia – The bodies of three employees of Ecuadorian newspaper El Comercio who were kidnapped and killed by dissident members of the now-disbanded Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group were transported Wednesday to their homeland.
The coffins carrying the remains of journalist Javier Ortega, photographer Paul Rivas and driver Efrain Segarra were taken to Alfonso Bonilla Aragon Airport, which serves this southwestern Colombian city.
The bodies were then flown to Quito in an Ecuadorian air force jet. The victims’ family members, who had traveled to Cali to help identify the bodies, also rode on the flight back to Ecuador.
The three men were kidnapped on March 26 in the northern Ecuadorian border province of Esmeraldas while investigating a recent surge of violence in the area.
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.”
On June 21, the bodies were found in a jungle area of the Colombian province of Nariño, which borders Ecuador, after a nearly three-month search by a joint police-army task force.
The FARC demobilized under a November 2016 peace accord with the Colombian government and is now a communist political party that uses the same acronym but is currently known as the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force.
But Arizala struck out on his own, forming what he called the Oliver Sinisterra Front, named for a guerrilla commander killed in 2015.