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French engineer assassinated in Colombian capital

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A police forensics van at the scene where a French defense systems engineer was shot dead in Bogota, Colombia

An engineer working for French aerospace and defense company Thales has been shot dead in the Colombian capital Bogota in an apparent targeted assassination, officials said Tuesday.

The 45-year-old victim was shot late Monday as he left a restaurant with a French colleague in the city's upscale northern district of Chapinero, the police and Thales said.

"We reject the hypothesis of a robbery. According to the evidence we have, this is an assassination perpetrated by a hitman," police Major Robert Mendez told reporters.

Bloodstains were still visible on Tuesday on the asphalt where the victim was shot.

The killing occurred in a street close to the French embassy. The embassy said the victim, whose identity has not been made public, was on a work assignment for Thales in Bogota.

The city is currently hosting the Expodefensa defense and security trade fair.

Mendez said the victim had previously visited Colombia in 2017 and had "never encountered any problems with anyone during his stay."

A police source told AFP the victim had been due to return to France on Wednesday.

The killer had approached from behind after the men left the restaurant and targeted only the victim before fleeing, the source said.

Thales specializes in aeronautics and defense, including missile systems, naval and jet fighter technology, tactical communications and data security.

The Paris-based defense group expressed shock at the killing, and said the victim's colleague "was immediately supported by the relevant authorities and Thales management on the spot."

The company said a team "has been sent to the scene and is in constant contact with the relevant local authorities and the diplomatic corps."

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