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Colombian trade unionist survives assassination attempt as 29 killed in 2018

A COLOMBIAN trade unionist has survived an assassination attempt after being shot in the chest and the back by motorcycle-riding gunmen as he nipped out to the shops in the Bolivar City district of Bogota on Wednesday night.

Patriotic March activist German Espinel, who works for the Aheramigua small-scale miners’ union, survived only because he was wearing a bullet-proof vest. Mr Espinel has received threats since 2016 because of his support for community land rights.

The union said on Thursday that the attackers rode off shouting: “That’s what you get, toad!”

Election monitoring agency MOE said that it had recorded 62 cases of violence against activists since campaigning began in December for March’s congressional election and May’s presidential vote.

That figure includes 31 murders, 11 non-fatal attacks and 20 cases of intimidation.

But peace group Indepaz puts the death toll higher, recording the murder of 29 social activists and 10 demobilised Farc guerillas in the first 40 days of 2018 alone.

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