(Photo: ADN)

Two unknown gunmen in Colombia’s southwest have assassinated a defense attorney working for the country’s Ombudsman’s Office, officials reported on Tuesday.

59-year-old Hilda Myriam Lasso Largacha — a public defense lawyer in the state of Cauca for the past 17 years — was gunned down by two assailants in front of her home in the municipality of Puerto Tejada at around 8:30 pm, a press release from the Ombudsman’s office stated.

According to the regional director for the Ombudsman’s office Mauricio Redondo, the government body was unaware any threats against Lasso Largacha even though she had been dealing with criminal cases throughout the region.

“No threats or risks related to her work as a professional of the Ombudsman’s Office were known,” Redondo said, and added his condolences to her family stating that she was an excellent worker and public defender.

The Cauca Regional Ombudsman has asked the mayor of Puerto Tejada to convene a security council to discuss and analyze the situation, and has asked authorities to investigate the circumstances surrounding the murder.

There are currently 76 public defenders working for the Ombudsman’s office in the Cauca region — many of which are engaged in cases from domestic situations to cases related to the armed conflict in the country.

The state of Cauca has been a problematic region in Colombia’s ongoing civil conflict as the FARC and ELN guerrilla groups continue to have a large presence in the areas. The Colombian government is currently conducting peace talks with the FARC, the largest of the rebel groups, in Cuba in a bid to end the five-decade long conflict.

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Colombian Ombudsman Jorge Armando Otalora Gomez expressed concern over the case, which resembles the death of public defender Emigdio Molina Conde, who was also gunned down in the state of Meta — in the country’s central region — three months ago.

Puerto Tejada, Cauca


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