Colombian Army Mobile Brigade Murders Two Peasant Leaders

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 25 January 2008

The Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission in Colombia has reported that the Colombian Army has executed two peasant leaders in the southern region of Putumayo. The Commission also reports that Putumayo is heavily militarised and that three other executions of civilians have taken place.

The first killings, which were carried out by soldiers of the 13th Mobile Brigade on Sunday 20th January, were of peasant leaders Hugo Armando Torres and Heynar Alexander Guerrero Paredes. The following day the Army buried both men in anonymous graves and claimed that they had killed two guerrillas in combat. The murders were carried out in the hamlet of 'Nueva Union' in the Puerto Asis municipality of Putumayo.

The Commission also reported that three further civilians were murdered in the following days: Gabriel Rios on January 21st and Juan Carlos Cortes and Jhon Silva Cortes on January 23rd.

Soldiers in the heavily militarised region are allegedly threatening residents and telling people that 'soon the paramilitaries will be coming' – referring to the feared death squads that often work with the Army. According to the Church, inhabitants of the area are terrified in the current situation and will not speak out for fear of being assassinated.

Source: January 24th 2008 Press Release from the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission (Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz)

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