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Friday, 17 November, 2000, 01:25 GMT
Killers hit Colombian press
Colombian soldiers
Journalists get caught in the civil conflict
A Colombian journalist, Gustavo Ruiz Castillo, has been shot dead in the north western town of Tivijay, on the Caribbean coast.

Mr Ruiz, 39, was walking home when two men sauntered up to him. Police say one of them fired two shots ino his head at point blank range.

Farc guerrilla
The situation is getting worse
His colleagues said he had received threats from right-wing paramilitary groups - but police say they have not identified the killer.

Mr Ruiz, who worked for an independent broadcaster, Radio Galeon, is the sixth journalist killed so far this year.

With no end in a sight to the country's 37-year-old civil war, international press watchdogs say Colombia is one of the most dangerous places to work as a journalist.

Worsening situation

The New York-based Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) says journalists find themselves victims of nearly every party to the increasingly complicated civil war and a violent drugs trade.

Over 170 journalists have been killed by Marxist guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries, renegade elements within the security forces and drug traffickers in Colombia since 1977.

Many others have been victims of violence or kidnappings, or have been forced to flee the country after death threats.

The organisation says Colombian journalists are leaving the country in unprecedented numbers, after working in extremely dangerous conditions for years.

Journalists are not alone, as human rights workers are regularly threatened or even killed.

The BBC's Jeremy McDermott in Colombia says the situation is getting worse.

Earlier this week the country's main rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) suspended peace talks with the government.

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See also:

16 Nov 00 | Americas
Colombia's peace laboratory
31 Aug 00 | Americas
US commits to Colombia
09 Jun 00 | Americas
My story: Victim of drug traffickers
29 Nov 99 | Americas
Journalists killed in Colombia
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