Peasants Report Shellings and Possible Displacement
News from Colombia |
on: Thursday, 16 February 2012
The Ascamcat peasant trade union of Catatumbo has reported army units shelling the village of Santa Fe near the town of El Tarra on several occasions. The villagers report bombs landing 200 metres from people’s homes. The most recent case of shelling occurred on the evening of February 12th. The association reports that the shellings have struck fear into the community, and that it may yet be forced to displace. The communiqué notes that under Colombian law civilians cannot be the object of reprisals.
Meanwhile, the peasant association of the valley of the river Cimitarra (ACVC) has reported a menacing “love triangle” between army, Urabeno paramilitaries and police in the region. The peasants accuse the security forces and paramilitaries of dividing the region between them with paramilitaries entering several villages at night, wearing balaclavas and black uniforms. The situation recalls that which assailed the region in previous years, according to ACVC.
The paramilitaries have threatened to carry out a ‘social cleansing’ of the area, as well as requisitioning food from peasants, many of whom are considering displacing as a result. ACVC reports paramilitaries patrolling through the villages of El Belen, La Sierra, El Bosque, San Pablito, El Progreso, El Pamomar and El Porvenir, where the army has a base.
In January the Urabeno paramilitaries declared an ‘armed strike’ which paralysed most of northern Colombia.