Two Paramilitary Massacres Leave 10 Dead

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 14 January 2008

Community leaders have been targeted by paramilitary death squads in two regions of Colombia in recent days leaving ten people dead. The ongoing killings by the paramilitaries contradict claims by the Colombian Government that the death squads are no longer operating.

The most recent attack took place during a party organised by community leaders in the '11 de Noviembre' neighbourhood of the northern city of Santa Marta. At approximately 9pm on January 11th a group of men arrived and opened fire on the gathering killing five people and wounding three others. The victims were predominantly community leaders whom were apparently selectively assassinated.

Less than two week previously, on December 31st, in the extreme south of Colombia, another group of paramilitaries forced their way into a home in the village of El Palmar in Leiva municipality, Narino department. Four local community leaders who were meeting there, along with a child who was in the house, were massacred by the men.

According to a January 14th press release about the two massacres released by the National Movement of Victims, "These new criminal acts show that the paramilitaries continue to act in Colombia, that social leaders cannot go about their work safely as guaranteed by the Colombian constitution, and that the claims by the Colombian Government to have dismantled the paramilitaries are patently false".

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