March 16, 2016 / 11:58 PM / 2 years ago

Colleague of slain Honduran activist Berta Caceres is shot dead

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - A colleague of Berta Caceres, the award-winning Honduran environmental rights activist murdered earlier this month, has also been killed, an indigenous rights group and police said on Wednesday.

The words "Berta Lives" are seen written in chalk to honour the slain environmental rights activist, Berta Caceres during a vigil to mark International Women's Day in Tegucigalpa, Honduras March 8, 2016. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

Nelson Garcia, 39, was shot dead on Tuesday by at least two unknown assailants near his house in the region of San Francisco de Yojoa, 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of the capital Tegucigalpa, a police spokesman said.

Garcia was a member of the Consejo de Organizaciones Populares e Indigenas de Honduras (COPINH), the same organization that Caceres used to lead.

Tomas Gomez, the coordinator of COPINH, said Garcia was killed following a dispute with local landowners.

Berta Caceres, a 43-year-old teacher, was shot and killed earlier this month by two men at her home in La Esperanza, Honduras, 112 miles (180 kilometers) west of Tegucigalpa.

Caceres, who had received death threats, won the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015 for her effort to prevent the construction of a $50 million dam that threatened to displace hundreds of indigenous people.

Honduras, a poor, Central American country, has one of the world’s highest murder rates.

Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Editing by Diane Craft

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