AP NEWS

Gunmen attack prominent Colombian environmental activist

May 5, 2019

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — One of Colombia’s most-prominent grassroots activists and winner of a prestigious international environmental prize has been attacked at a meeting with community leaders.

Francia Marquez, who survived Saturday’s attack, said gunmen launched a grenade and opened fire into a crowd of activists gathered in the southern town of Santander de Quilichao. Two people were injured as bodyguards protecting some attendees battled the attackers, whose identities are unknown.

President Ivan Duque ordered an investigation.

Marquez won last year’s Goldman Environmental Prize for her work fighting illegal gold mining by armed groups in her Afro-Colombian community.

Attacks on leftists have surged in Colombia since the signing of a peace deal in 2016 with the country’s largest rebel group. Watchdog “Somos Defensores” said 155 activists were killed last year versus 106 in 2017