Gunmen attack prominent Colombian environmental activist

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One of Colombia’s most-prominent grassroots activists and winner of a prestigious international environmental prize has been attacked at a meeting with community leaders.

Francia Marquez, who survived Saturday’s attack, said gunmen launched a grenade and opened fire into a crowd of activists gathered in the southern town of Santander de Quilichao. Two people were injured as bodyguards protecting some attendees battled the attackers, whose identities are unknown.

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President Ivan Duque ordered an investigation.

Marquez won last year’s Goldman Environmental Prize for her work fighting illegal gold mining by armed groups in her Afro-Colombian community.

Attacks on leftists have surged in Colombia since the signing of a peace deal in 2016 with the country’s largest rebel group. Watchdog “Somos Defensores” said 155 activists were killed last year versus 106 in 2017