Latin America & Caribbean

Colombia outrage over killing of young girl

Funeral ceremony for 7-years old killed Yuliana Andrea Samboni Munoz, in Bogota, Colombia, 07 December 2016 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Three days of mourning were announced in seven-year-old Yuliana's home department of Cauca.

The funeral has been taking place in the Colombian capital, Bogota, of a seven-year-old girl from a poor family who was raped and killed on Sunday.

Yuliana Samboni's body - which showed signs of torture - was found in a luxury apartment in the city. It's believed she had been suffocated.

The suspect, who has been detained by the police, is from a wealthy family.

The killing has ignited public anger about child sex abuse as well as over the country's deep social divide.

President Juan Manuel Santos has condemned the killing.

Yuliana Samboni had been playing outside her family home in a working class neighbourhood of Bogota when she was snatched from the street by a man in a grey van.

Hours later, her body was found with signs of rape and torture in the apartment of a wealthy architect in the affluent Chapinero district.

The 38-year-old owner had disappeared after checking himself into a private clinic for a cocaine and alcohol overdose.

The suspect, Rafael Uribe Noguera, has been remanded in custody pending investigations.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated femicide, torture, abduction and rape.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption A series of vigils were held in Bogota in the days after the killing.

A day after the killing , the first vigil began in a park in Bogota.

Hundreds of people gathered to light candles and social media in Colombia was taken over by the movements #NiUnaMenos and #TodosSomosYuliana.

"I demand, as Colombians demand, the most prompt and severe justice that falls on the person responsible for this murder," said President Juan Manuel Santos at a meeting of young students,

Yuliana's body was buried in the isolated rural hamlet of El Bolivar, in the department of Cauca where her family is from.

Apart from the horrific nature of the crime, reporters said many Colombians were concerned that the suspect would use his family's connections and wealth to avoid criminal charges.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Protests calling for justice for the victim and her family took place outside the hospital treating the alleged murderer of Yuliana

The alleged perpetrator comes from a prosperous family of architects and lawyers, while Yuliana was from a poor indigenous family which had migrated to Bogota to flee violence in the countryside.

Politicians and women's groups are also debating what more Colombia can do to prevent similar cases from happening in the future.

Women's rights groups say the government needs to do more to protect adult women from sexual violence.

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