Unknown attackers fatally shot a human rights activist in northern Colombia, officials have said. Bernardo Cuero died Wednesday at his home in the town of Malambo, according to a statement by the National Association of Displaced Afrodescendants (AFRODES), for which he worked as a lawyer. “We strongly reject the murder of Bernardo Cuero Bravo, human rights defender, father, brother, friend, who gave his life for victims and finally became one,” the organization said in a statement on Thursday.
Two gunmen, who arrived at Cuero’s home on a motorcycle, shot him “in the presence of his partner and other relatives and then fled,” the group said.
Cuero belonged to several other regional human rights groups.
Amnesty International’s director for the Americas, Erika Guevara-Rosas, condemned Cuero’s “brutal assassination,” saying in a statement that “the government must take necessary protective measures to guarantee the life and integrity of people” fighting for the rights of Afro-Colombians in the country.
Colombia’s ombudsman’s office, which monitors human rights, also condemned the killing, saying Cuero “repeatedly denounced threats against his life.”
The activist had previously survived an assassination attempt, AFRODES said.
The state National Protection Unit issued him a bullet-proof vest and a cellphone, which were later withdrawn, the organization added.
Interior Minister Guillermo Rivera condemned the killing on Twitter, saying prosecutors would “investigate the crime.”
Some 156 activists have been killed in Colombia between January 1, 2016 and March 1 of this year, according to official figures.
Colombia is seeking to end a half-century conflict that has drawn in various rebel and paramilitary forces and drug gangs, and left at least 260,000 people dead and displaced more than seven million, according to the authorities.