Land reclaimant killed in front of wife and kids

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 10 May 2013

Ivan Dario Restrepo, a land reclaimant in the eastern region of Antioquia, was shot and killed by two armed men dressed as policemen. Ivan was in a process to reclaim land from which he was forced to flee with his family. Like many land reclaimants, he had been threatened as a result of his attempts to reclaim his land. He was killed at the entrance to his house in the La Gabriela neighbourhood of Antioquia as his wife and three kids watched on. The murderers then threatened his wife before escaping.

Ivan had worked tirelessly to denounce the links between the Police and the illegal paramilitary group responsible for land theft in the region. In January of this year he had made a complaint which stated “It is not right that the community live in fear as they observe police officials accompanying and socialising with people who are known to operate in the Triana [paramilitary] armed group which is active in the La Gabriela neighbourhood”.

Ivan had three armed guards, but was killed as his armed guards were changing shift.

A recent report by Colombian human rights organisation “Somos Defensores” lamented the increased killings of human rights defenders with attacks on land reclaimants a significant factor.

The killing of Ivan adds to the killings of Narciso Teheran on 12 April, Elver Cordero on 9 April, and Ermes Osorio on 23 March. All were in processes to reclaim illegally stolen land.

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