A bulletproof vest saved the life of Colombian human rights activist German Espinel when he was attacked by armed assailants in Bogota Wednesday night.
At about 9:30p.m., Espinel left his home to visit a local grocery store when he was approached by two men on a motorcycle. They shot him twice, once in the chest and once in his back.
The assailants then rode off, shouting: "That what happens to you, toad!" the Association of Agroecological and Mining Brotherhoods of Guamoco (Aheramigua) said Thursday.
As a member of the Patriotic March, Espinel has dedicated years to human rights and urban development. More recently, he had been monitoring a number of armed groups traveling throughout the area and alerting government officials to their presence.
Rising violence along with an escalation in murders is causing grave concern in rural communities across Colombia, said Aheramigua President Mauricio Garcia. Members of his community have also been targeted and received death threats from paramilitaries.
Police officials have been notified of the attempted assassination and the Aheramigua has requested measures to "guarantee and protect human rights, the rights to life, transportation, work, as well as personal and psychological integrity."
Garcia, however, says it's unlikely anything will change: "There is no political will to solve the security situation that human rights defenders are facing."
Members of the Patriotic March, Espinel’s rights group, have demanded the Prosecutor’s Office, the Ombudsman’s Office and the Colombian Attorney General’s Office investigate the incident and do more to defend the nation's activists.