Bogota: French Thales engineer shot dead | News | DW | 03.12.2019
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Bogota: French Thales engineer shot dead

The fatal shooting of a French engineer in Bogota was an "assassination," police claim. The victim worked for the French aerospace company Thales, which is among exhibitors attending Colombia's Expodefensa trade fair.

Bogota police major Robert Mendez told reporters that the street shooting late on Monday was an "assassination perpetrated by a hitman."

"We reject the hypothesis of a robbery," said Mendez.

The 45-year-old engineer, whose identity was not initially made public by the French Embassy, was shot dead as he left a restaurant with a French colleague in Bogota's upscale district of Chapinero.

He was approached from behind. Only the Thales engineer and not his colleague was shot, said a police source quoted by the French news agency AFP, adding the engineer had been due to return to France on Wednesday.

Hosting defense exhibition

Bogota is currently hosting Expodefensa, a defense and security trade fair, attended this year by 269 exhibitors from 24 countries, including Thales.

The Paris-based aerospace and defense group expressed shock at the killing, saying the victim's colleague was "immediately supported by the relevant authorities and Thales management on the spot."

A team sent to Bogota was in "contact with local authorities and the diplomatic corps," a Thales spokesman added.

Widespread protest wave

Colombia is currently embroiled in widespread demonstrations against economic trends, a funding shortage for education and killings of community leaders by armed groups.

On Monday, President Ivan Duque's government accepted a request for exclusive talks from a strike committee comprising trade unions and civil society groups.

Colombia's unrest, which has claimed at least five lives, echoes protest over inequalities that has also swept Ecuador, Chile and Bolivia.

ipj/ng (AFP, Reuters)

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