Washington, D.C.—WOLA (the Washington Office on Latin America) condemns the attack on Pastor Jorge Machado, a member of the Special Commission for the Purging and Reform of the Honduran National Police. WOLA urges the Honduran authorities to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation, and bring to justice those responsible for this deplorable and unacceptable act. At the same time, it must strengthen the security of the members of the Commission.
According to reports, the incident took place on Thursday, December 15 in the Colonia Modelo area of Tegucigalpa while Pastor Machado was traveling to his residence, escorted by security guards. The attack was allegedly carried out by armed men in a van who fired shots at the vehicle transporting Machado and his wife to their home. One security agent was killed and two others wounded in the attack.
“It is imperative that the Honduran state proceed rigorously to conduct a thorough investigation of the case, initiate the necessary judicial actions, and bring to justice those guilty of this abominable violent and criminal act,” said Adriana Beltrán, WOLA Senior Associate for Citizen Security. “Not only should the perpetrators of the crime be punished, but also the intellectual authors.”
The Commission has been carrying out the important task of cleaning up and purging the Honduran National Police, which for several years has been seriously weakened by corruption and infiltration of criminal groups. According to Commission reports, more than 2,000 officers, police, and auxiliary personnel have been separated from the institution since it began operations. Regrettably, for the past several months members of the Commission have warned of threats made against their work.
“The efforts of the Commission to clean up the Honduran Police are absolutely necessary and fundamental. It is imperative that any act of intimidation be investigated, and that the Commission continue its courageous work,” said Beltrán.
WOLA extends its condolences to the relatives of the agent who died in the attack, and awaits the prompt recovery of the security officers who were injured while protecting Pastor Machado and his family.