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Colombia Declares State of Emergency After Slayings

November 03, 1995|Associated Press

BOGOTA, Colombia — Gunmen ambushed a prominent opponent of Colombia's president in a crowded Bogota street Thursday, killing him and an assistant.

President Ernesto Samper declared a state of emergency after the slayings, giving wider powers to himself and security forces.

Alvaro Gomez Hurtado, 76, a former senator and ambassador to Washington, was shot four times in front of the university where he taught law.

Gomez had called for Samper to resign over allegations that the Cali drug cartel had given millions of dollars to his 1994 election campaign.

In a somber, nationally televised address Thursday night, Samper said Gomez's assassination "makes the entire nation mourn."

Samper announced a 90-day state of emergency, under which police can make searches and arrests without court orders. He also limited press freedom.

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