Radio HRN reporter Alfredo Villatoro was kidnapped at 4:30 this morning while on his way to work.
A ex-police sergeant dismissed from the force in September, 2011, has been arrested for participating in the early morning kidnapping of Villatoro. The ex-officer, Gerson Basilio Godoy, was dismissed for suspicion of belonging to a band of kidnappers and extortionists. He was caught by a police checkpoint driving a Toyota pickup that had been seen parked in front of the reporter's house early this morning, and which had collided with the reporter's car, transferring paint. Two other occupants of his truck, Alpidio Fernández (father in law) and Allan Padilla (brother in law), were detained on suspicion of having participated in the kidnapping as well.
Godoy was also stopped in March and questioned regarding an attempt on an official who had just withdrawn a large amount of cash from the bank.
Alfredo Villatoro has not been found, but his kidnappers have communicated with his family.
As we reported back in early March, Minister of Security Pompeyo Bonilla continues to stonewall the Public Prosecutor, Luis Rubi. Bonilla has failed to transfer the files on more than 100 police officers dismissed since last fall for alleged corruption or linkage to organized crime. He transferred an initial 18 files, in early April then stopped.
Nor has there been one iota of progress in cleaning up the police since we last reported on this in early March.
Reporters Without Borders has condemned the kidnapping, along with the murder of another journalist, Erick Martinez, just days ago, .
There is no police cleanup.
It is being actively blocked by Pompeyo Bonilla refusing to turn over the case files to the Public Prosecutor, by the Government of Canada which has stonewalled on nominating a candidate to the Consejo de Seguridad Publica, There's the acceptance of a Chilean member of the Consejo who in turn has been accused of corruption in his own country, and the obstruction by the Government of Canada, which has so far refused to name a member of the commission despite lengthy security negotiations. There's the failure of Lobo Sosa to exhibit any leadership. We could add the apparent incompetence of the Public Prosecutor's office, which seems to lose most cases it does bring, but why bother. The police in Honduras will not be cleaned up by any of the proposed processes.
And Alfredo Villatoro is still missing.
(Updated 3:50 PDT to correct names of those arrested.)