In Colombia, “peace is killed every time a social leader or a former guerrilla dies,” ex-President Samper warns.
Colombia’s Common Revolutionary Alternative Force (FARC) Thursday denounced the execution of an extermination plan against former guerrilla fighters who are settled in the Ituango Municipality, in Antioquia.
The humanitarian situation is particularly serious in the Santa Lucia community where 12 citizens, who were in the process of returning to civilian life, have been killed so far.
“The government cannot continue to hide this plan of extermination against peace. We are attending a friend’s funeral every three days,” a resident said and explained that the presence of the Army is notorious in the zone.
“Although there is a lot of Army and Police there, ex-combatants are killed. They have not been able to prevent this bloodshed,” Omar Restrepo, FARC representative said.
Among the actions against the peace process would be an attack on Pastor Alape, who is the FARC delegate to the National Reincorporation Council (CNR).
On Thursday morning, this possible attack was confirmed by President Ivan Duque’s Stabilization and Consolidation Adviser, Emilio Archila, who indicated that the Police and the National Protection Unit (UNP) have already been alerted, as reported by the Anadolu Agency.
Antioquia’s social organizations asked the Colombian government for immediate and efficient measures to protect their leaders and the lives of the 2016 Peace Agreement signatories.
They also requested the international community, the Congress peace commission, and the mainstream media to pressure the Duque administration to implement efficient actions aimed at defending peace.
Amid the persistent violence in Colombia, former President Ernesto Samper (1994-1998) said that crimes against social leaders and former combatants directly affect the peace process.
“The murder of former FARC guerrillas has a tendency that could even equal the genocide against the Patriotic Union perpetrated some years ago. Peace is killed every time a social leader or a former guerrilla fighter dies,” Samper warned.
“Social leaders are being killed because they defend agreements related to land, illegal crops substitution, and human rights. Do you want to end this genocide? Respect the Peace agreements and reactivate negotiations with the National Liberation Army(ELN),” he added.
Carlos Ruiz Massieu, head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, stressed that security is one of the main challenges for the comprehensive implementation of the 2016 Peace Agreement.
However, he also referred to the need to find concrete solutions to problems such as the existence of illicit economic activities, the presence of armed groups, and the lack of economic opportunities for the population.
FARC Leader Sends Letter to Duque About Persecution of Members
The head of the FARC party, Rodrigo Londoño, asked Colombian President Iván Duque to comply with the agreements signed in Havana in 2016.
The President of the Common Revolutionary Alternative Force (FARC) party, Rodrigo Londoño, sent an open letter to the President of Colombia, Iván Duque, in which he denounced the persecution of the former signatories of the peace agreement.
“In my opinion, the death of our partner César Darío Herrera, in the immediate vicinity of the territorial area of reinstatement and training of Santa Lucia, rural area of Ituango, in Antioquia shows the intolerable nature of the persecution that we have been suffering as the signatories of the final agreement of peace,” . Londoño pointed out.
Londoño stressed that the statements of some officials such as Interior Minister Nancy Patricia Gutierrez, who said that the agreement signed in Havana is a “semi-faulted” process due to the lack of willingness of former combatants to comply with agreements.
In addition, he called to reflect “deeply” on the situation that occurs not only in Ituango and Antoquia, where 25 mansalva murders are registered against reintegrated ex-combatants, but throughout the country.
The ex-combatant of the FARC-EP Darío Herrera was killed by unknown assailants last Tuesday in the municipality of Ituango, in the north of Antioquia, in the northwest of the country by strangers.
According to a report from the Institute for Development and Peace Studies (INDEPAZ), the number of people killed in Colombia, after the signing of the peace agreement in November 2016, is 627 social leaders.