Former FARC leader Pablo Catatumbo said that the murder of the three Ecuadorean journalists closed to the Colombian border was “barbarian,” two days after their deaths were confirmed.
“What this person has done is barbarian,” he said in an interview with Quito's daily journal El Comercio, referring to Walter Patricio Arizala Vernaza, aka “Guacho,” whom Colombian and Ecuadorean authorities suspect to have given the order to kill the journalists.
El Guacho leads about 50 dissident FARC guerrillas who refused the peace accord signed between the Colombian government and the core of the guerrilla group in 2016.
He added that the political movement FARC “categorically condemned the assassination of the journalists.”
This follows the statement by FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño on Friday, sending his condolences to the families of the victims. “What happened demonstrates the need of keep working for peace,” he said on Twitter.
Journalist Javier Ortega, photographer Paul Rivas, and driver Efrain Segarra were kidnapped by Oliver Sinisterra Front group on March 26 in Ecuador's northern border in Mataje, Esmeraldas province, while reporting on the increasing violence in the region for the daily El Comercio.
The Colombian government considers the group a FARC splinter group that didn't agree with the 2016 peace agreement between the former Marxist insurgent group and the Colombian government. Nevertheless, the criminal group has no connection with the democratic political party the Revolutionary Alternative Forces of the Commons, also known as FARC, which was formed after the group's demobilization.