The relatives of the journalistic team of the Ecuadorian newspaper El Comercio, kidnapped a week ago in Esmeraldas, border with Colombia, have come to public light to make their case visible and prevent it from falling into oblivion and are “impatient to receive more information.”
“Actually the authorities have not confirmed any other statement, in addition to the proof of life. We are impatient because we need more information, “Alejandro Ortega, brother of the journalist who is part of the kidnapped team and has not heard from for seven days, told Efe today.
The communicator Javier Ortega, 32, the photographer Paúl Rivas, 45, and the driver, Efraín Segarra, 60, had moved on March 26 from Quito to the province of Esmeraldas (northwest) to collect testimonies about the situation in the border zone, scene of attacks against Ecuadorian forces attributed to organized armed groups.
That same night, the Ecuadorian government confirmed its kidnapping, of which only official details have escaped, apart from negotiations with the captors, who have not asked for a ransom.
Since then, journalists and ordinary citizens have joined the solidarity shows to ask for his soon return.
“That is what the daily vigils are about, so they can see that they are not alone and if this does not follow, the issue would fall and that is what we do not want,” Ortega said.
He insisted that families trust that “the authorities are doing the pertinent thing so that they come safe and sound”, but at the same time, he showed uncertainty in the absence of information in a process about which the authorities are asking them for discretion.
Remember that his brother used to say goodbye, “Chao, ñaño, do well” and says that the family is shattered including a dog, who misses his presence.
He describes the sensations that he has experienced since the absence as “pain, anxiety, helplessness, uncertainty, lack of sleep, food does not enter as before”, so that the relatives receive psychological support from the Anti-kidnapping and Extortion Unit (Unase) of the National Police.
Yadira Aguagallo, a couple of photojournalist Paul Rivas, who knew precisely working, she is also a journalist, explained the reason why on Sunday the families decided to make public the names of the captured.
“After seven days since the confirmation of the kidnapping, we have considered that this prudential time has passed so as not to obstruct the investigations and that it is time for the country and the international communities to know who these three Ecuadorian citizens are,” he said.
He believes that “it is not a problem only of the press or the media, but of the country” because the communicators went to the border region precisely to cover the dominant insecurity for two months.
He tries to show some restraint by assuring that “what we can say is that we know they are well” and that this was transmitted by the authorities at the last crisis meeting on Saturday.
He said that the last thing that is known about them that Monday is that they had breakfast and left the San Lorenzo hotel in the direction of the town of Mataje and that they crossed a police checkpoint after which they lost track.
“Assimilating a kidnapping is a tremendous thing. It is a thing that shocks you terribly and the first sensations do not know how to handle them “, he emphasizes before assuring that” there is not a single part of the body and soul that does not hurt you “.
He confesses that the daughter of his partner, 20 years old, is demonstrating an unusual strength of which his father would be “very proud”.
Cristian Segarra, daughter of Efraín, the driver of the vehicle with more than 15 years working for the newspaper, is also a journalist from El Comercio and knew in the newsroom that the track had been lost to the team.
At first, she tried to remain calm and did not give much thought to the lack of communication with the team displaced to Esmeraldas, but when the emergency service ECU911 summoned the relatives he suspected that his father had been kidnapped: “It seemed to me that it was obvious what was happening. ”
She analyzes several possible scenarios, but underlines that “it is not an economic issue”, although it was “impotent” because it could not know or specify which interests move the kidnappers, or to which group they belong.
She expects a greater involvement of the Colombian Government in the case and affirms that “the responsibility has fallen rather on the Ecuadorian side”. (I)