Civilian Killed by Police During Fighting in Cauca.

News from Colombia | on: Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Human Rights organisations have reported fighting in the departments of Cauca and Narino, with civilian casualties and damage to civilian homes. On 7th February fighting took place in Las Guaces, in the municipality of Corinto in Cauca department. During the fighting between the army’s 8th counterinsurgency battalion and the FARC’s VI Front civilians were forced to shelter in their homes, and in one case, bullets narrowly missed David Calambes Guegia, an 18 month-old baby, who was rescued by his father. Army troops occupied some civilian homes during the fighting and several houses were damaged by bullets.

On Sunday 12th February in the village of El Mango FARC guerrillas attacked the police base in the village centre at 9.30pm. Police inside the base responded with long bursts of indiscriminate machine gun fire. Later that night, at 2.30am, some residents were leaving a local bar when they heard a blast near the police station. A group of unidentified police then fired at the residents standing outside the bar, hitting Emiro Espinoza in the head and left arm. Mr Espinoza was seriously wounded and died on the way to hospital in Argelia.

In the neighbouring department of Narino, human rights networks report the assassination of Gilberto Pai, a 27 year-old Awa indigenous man. Mr Pai was shopping in Llorente on the evening of 11th February when he was approached by two men in civilian dress. The men then drew handguns and shot Mr Pai four times. The area has been controlled by Urabeno paramilitaries since December 2011, and local organisations report that they are based outside the town, which has a heavy military presence with the 19th Mobile Brigade as well as units of the National Police.

The following evening in Jardines de Sucumbios, near Ipiales, military aircraft began heavy strafing and bombing, which was then followed by the airlanding of troops who began to fight with guerrillas of the FARC’s 48th Front. Army troops occupied some homes during the fighting - which continued until the following day - with the civilian population forced to shelter in their homes.

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