Assassination attempt against community leader

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 21 August 2007

At 9.15pm on August 19th a paramilitary death squad ambushed and attempted to kill 50-year-old community leader Isaias Lopez as he left a billiards hall in the town of Medellin del Ariari in Meta department. Lopez was shot eight times in the attempt and is currently recovering in hospital in the town of Granada.

The attack comes only months after soldiers of the 21st 'Vargas' Battalion under the command of Captain Ferro murdered peasant organiser Genaro Potes in the same town. CINEP, a respected Catholic human rights group in Colombia, has alleged that the Battalion collaborates closely with paramilitaries.

According to the coalition of human rights groups and trade unions that documented and denounced the most recent incident, paramilitaries are operating closely with the Colombian Army in the region and soldiers and paramilitaries have carried out a series of selective assassinations and forced disappearances.

Investigators have found that paramilitaries who allegedly demobilised last year in the department of Casanare, have in fact travelled to southern Meta department and resumed operations.

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