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Gunmen Kill Colombian Radio Show Hostess

November 12, 2003

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) _ A radio talk show host was shot dead outside her home Tuesday in the coastal city of Santa Marta, police said.

Relatives and friends of Zuly Esther Codina Perez, a journalist with local radio station Rodadero de Toledar, said they had not heard of her receiving any death threats. There was no immediate indication of who was behind the attack.

``We have designated a special group with the prosecutors’ office to shed light on the deplorable death of this journalist,″ local police chief Col. Heriberto Pardo told reporters.

Codina Perez also worked at a hospital in Santa Marta and was a member of a trade union.

Colombia is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists, with more than 114 reporters killed in the past 14 years, according to the Inter American Press Association.

Separately, Colombian troops killed at least 10 guerrillas and captured another 34 suspected rebel supporters in separate operations across the country, the army said Tuesday.

The heaviest fighting took place in the state of Cundinamarca, which borders the capital Bogota, and where troops are battling a coordinated campaign by the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, to cut off roads leading into the capital.

About 3,500 people, mostly civilians, die each year in Colombia’s 39-year civil war, which pits leftist rebels against the government and right-wing paramilitary fighters.

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