There has been no word of community radio journalist Elida Parra Alfonso since her abduction yesterday afternoon from her home in Saravena, in the eastern department of Arauca, by two men who took her away in a car.
Parra hosts a programme on children’s rights called “Mimos” for Saravena-based radio Sarare Estéreo after previously producing its news programme. Since last year, she has had a second job working in community relations for the company overseeing the construction of a major pipeline known as the Bicentennial Pipeline.
“We urge the authorities not to rule out the possiblity that Parra’s abduction was linked to her journalistic work,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The presence of armed groups – the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colomnia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN) and paramilitaries – in Arauca department makes it a dangerous region for all journalists. The authorities must do everything possible to locate her.”
Parra’s family said she was at home yesterday with her husband, who went out to do some shopping and found the front door open and Parra missing on his return. The staff of Sarare Estéreo told the police in May that armed men had been seen near the station.
Bicentennial Pipeline employees have also been threatened by armed groups and construction of the pipeline has been halted for the past 12 days because of threats from ELN guerrilas. Another pipeline employee also reportedly went missing yesterday in Saravena in similar circumstances as Parra.
In 2008, Parra reported getting threats from paramilitaries, who are one of the main sources of danger for journalists in Colombia.