Colombian Communities Fear for their Lives Following Threats from Paramilitaries

Contagio Radio

Through a pamphlet, the self-proclaimed paramilitaries “Gaitanitas Autodefensas de Colombia” (AGC) have assured that a strike will begin on July 15 in four municipalities in the department of Antioquia. In the letter, they say that if they do not receive the support of the communities, they will begin an indefinite armed strike . Faced with these threats, the population has expressed fear for their lives.

The municipalities mentioned in the pamphlet are Dabeiba, Buriticá, Anzá and Armenia Mantequilla, who are ordered to cease their economic, labor and academic activities “We invite all the communities that accompany us (…) we ask the entities in charge of the economy in these Municipalities, do not make any orders for matters outside the municipality. “

They also add that applications extend to “labor and educational entities” referring to hospitals, mayors, transport fleets “not to provide their services these days.”

See: Paramilitaries consolidate presence in San José de Apartadó

If they fail to comply with the orders indicated in the pamphlet, the paramilitaries have threatened to start an indefinite armed strike “if we see that the support of the community is zero, we will leave aside the peaceful strike to begin with an indefinite armed strike.”

The object of this stoppage by the paramilitaries, they say in their pamphlet, is due to the commemoration of the murder of one of his commanders Andrés Usuga Gil, on June 13, 2017. He may be interested: Paramilitaries threaten exiled Colombian victims in Spain

In several statements of the mayors of these municipalities, say that the leaflets began appearing for about 20 days and have reported to the Army and the Police to be alert to the communities, however are unknown actions to combat these structures in the region.

According to the Ombudsman’s Office, Clan Úsuga or “AGC” is present in 22 departments of Colombia such as Antioquia, Bolívar, Caldas, Casanare, Magdalena, Meta, Nariño, Norte de Santander, Quindio, Risaralda, Cauca, Cesar, Chocó , Cordoba, Sucre, Cundinamarca, and Guajira.

See :
Paramilitars break into Nueva Esperanza Humanitarian Zone in Jiguamiandó, Chocó

State Forces Attack on Indigenous Community in Cauca Leave 12 People Injured
Dos dias de ataques del ESMAD a indígenas en Cauca dejan 12 personas heridas

After several hours of clashes between the Kokonuko indigenous community in Cauca and more than 300 ESMAD troops who attacked the population that was carrying out a process of liberation of the mother earth at the Aguas Tibias # 2 property, it has been known that the result is 12 wounded, several seriously, with unconventional weapons and others more affected by tear gas.

For Gobernardor Ismeldo Avirama this constitutes a serious violation of human rights and the territory of the communities of Kokonuko, however, he states that they will continue to defend their lands and will not withdraw from the site until the government complies with the commitment to clean up the territory . You may be interested in: Kokonuko indigenous people denounce the murder of two women in their community

“We have wounded of the community, they are 12 comrades, some of gravity, others struck because they attacked with all their public force. Some are in the Hospital of Popayán, others have already been discharged from the hospital in the district of Kokonuko. There was a violation of human rights, “reports Avirama.

According to the Governor, ESMAD took them out of their homes where children, elders, and elders were “no matter what happened. Because they are not only firing rubber bullets and gases but also bullets. “

He clarified that they are not currently on the property Aguas Tibias II, which is privately owned, but are on a part of the road “we have not entered there, we are in a part that is part of our territory, because As that part does not have a public deed because we assert our territory and our special jurisdiction. “

Injured children did not come from the community

Says Avirama, who have proof to prove that the 2 children injured during the ESMAD attack was not the result of the action of the indigenous community , but contrary to what has been assured, all those injured “have been because of The Public Force. We have everything in evidence and is going to report to the Ombudsman. “

Community requires mediation of a special commission

Finally, the Governor stated that they hoped that a special commission composed of the Ministry of Interior and other competent institutions that could help this situation to cease.