Columbian archbishop shot dead


 Archbishop Isaias Duarte Cancino was shot dead on Saturday evening by unknown gunmen in the city of Cali. The 63 year-old archbishop was was gunned down outside the Buen Pastor church where he had just conducted a marriage ceremony. The killing came nearly a month after peace talks with the rebels broke down on 20 February. At least 21 members of the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been killed in recent weeks, a cache of more than seven tonnes of cocaine has been destroyed. The Archbishop was an outspoken critic of the rebels, the drug barons and politicians who supported them. He frequently condemned the FARC, as well as a smaller left-wing group, the National Liberation Army (ELN). In 1999, he ex-communicated a number of ELN members after they kidnapped 150 worshippers from a church in Cali in 1999. The archbishop's private secretary said that Monsignor Duarte had often asked for police protection, most recently on the day he was shot, but his requests were denied. Soon after his murder, a major generator failure cut off power to Colombia's three main cities, Bogota, Medellin and Cali. It was not clear if the blackout was the result of sabotage.

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