Eight Peasant Farmers Murdered in Brutal Massacre

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 27 June 2011

Local human rights organisations have reported that on the evening of Saturday 25th June at 9pm, masked gunmen wearing camouflage gear and carrying assault rifles forced their way into a bar in the village of Villanueva, in the municipality of Colon Genova, Narino Department in south east Colombia. They then proceeded to carry out a massacre, shooting dead eight peasant farmers, one of them a child, and injuring four. Those murdered were Celso López, Sandro López, Horacio Gómez, Luis Gil, Libio Noguera, Luis Arcos, Plinio Noguera and 15 year old boy, Albey Gaviria, all peasants from the local community.

Since 2002, the Bloque Calima paramilitary group has operated in the region and neighbouring municipalities. They have forcibly displaced numerous residents, and carried out several forced disappearances and selective assassinations. After the supposed demobilisation in 2006 the paramilitaries regrouped under the new names, ‘New Generation’ and ‘Los Rastrojos’; and the abuses have continued.

Recently multinational companies have begun operating in the region, requesting licences for the exploration and exploitation of natural resources such as gold, copper and silver. Just days before the murder, on June 17th, local residents had called a mass public meeting where they denounced the constant pressure they face from the companies. Human rights organisations have called on the Colombian authorities to investigate this latest massacre - which they say must not simply be treated as an isolated case – and other abuses, which has caused terror amongst the communities.

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