Colombian regrets losing wife, son in Tunisia attack

Policemen guard the entrance of the Bardo museum in Tunis March 19, 2015. (File: Reuters)

A retired Colombian general whose wife and son died in a museum attack in Tunisia lamented the “irony” Thursday of losing his family members after having spent his life “fighting terrorism” in his own country.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos called Jose Arturo Camelo, the former military leader, to offer condolences and state aid for returning the bodies of his wife, Miriam Martinez, and their son Javier.

Twenty-one people, nearly all foreign tourists, were killed Wednesday by gunmen who stormed Tunisia’s National Bardo Museum. The radical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group would later take credit for the attack.

“Look at the irony of life, all my life I spent in the military fighting terrorism, combating terrorism, and now in a place totally remote from Colombia it takes my wife and son,” Camelo said, according to the president.

Colombia has been wracked by a half-century of civil war that has killed around 220,000 people and displaced millions.

Camelo, now a dean of law at a military university, and his family were on a Mediterranean cruise to celebrate the recent graduate degree obtained by their son Javier when the shooting occurred.

Javier, 28, was a dual Colombian-Australian national who had lived in Sydney. Miriam Martinez was a longtime dentist.

“Any act of terrorism like this is doomed anywhere in the world,” Camelo said in the statement relayed by Santos.

Santos said he was working to help return the bodies so they could be buried “with dignity.”

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:45 - GMT 06:45