Four held over killing of Panama player

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The player was targeted outside his home in Nuevo Colón

[BBC] – Police in Panama say they are holding four people in connection with the murder of international footballer Amílcar Henríquez.

All of those held are teenagers, officials said. Mr Henríquez, 33, was shot dead as he was leaving his home in the city of Nuevo Colón on Saturday. A 36-year-old man, Delano Wilson, was also killed.

The motive for the killing is still unclear, but police say it appears to have been carefully planned. Officers said the gunmen had laid in wait at a home opposite that of Mr Henríquez.

A 70-year-old woman and three teenage girls living at the home have been told not to leave the country while the investigations are under way. Local media first reported that Delano Wilson, the man who died alongside Mr Henríquez, was a friend of the footballer.

But Mr Wilson’s sister has since come forward to say her brother was just crossing the street on the way to buy a burger when he got caught in the crossfire. Another man, Josimar Gómez, was injured.

Mr Henríquez, a midfielder, had played for the Panamanian national side as well as for Panamanian team Árabe Unido. Before that, he had played in Colombia for América de Cali and Real Cartagena.

President Juan Carlos Varela condemned the murder on Twitter, saying that justice would be done. According to Panamanian police figures, the country had a homicide rate of 9.3 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2016, which is below many other countries in the region.

However, the province of Colón, where Mr Henríquez was killed, is known to be a hotspot for gangs.