Paramilitary Threats in Meta and Catatumbo

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Recent reports from Meta indicate paramilitaries are threatening members of the local Patriotic March leadership, local peasant negotiators at the regional peasant-government roundtable and human rights defenders.

The reports date back to August this year when according to Kevin Ascencio Medina, a former guerrilla-turned paramilitary called ‘Pipe’ approached him to warn him and another peasant leader to ‘watch their arses’ because ‘we know where you are’, indicating that there were many paramilitaries in the region. He also told Mr Ascencio that most of the leaders of the local Agrocafre peasant farmers’ association were being investigated for links to the FARC-EP. The threats were made in the presence of a SIJIN police officer who then interrogated Mr Ascencio while accusing him of being a FARC doctor.

One of the other threatened leaders, Mr Edilberto Daza Bejarano is a member of the regional leadership of the Patriotic March and a spokesperson for the MIA peasant-farmer roundtable.

Meanwhile in Catatumbo on the 13th of September army troops burned down the home of Mr Alonso Casadiego in the settlement of Cuervos near La Gabarra. When Mr Casadiego returned home he found paramilitary graffiti sprayed on the remains. In 1999 La Gabarra was the scene of a paramilitary massacre that was supported by the army.

Mr Casadiego lost his family home, and the products he had for market, as well as the clothes and property of his wife, and his two children. ASCAMCAT, the local peasant-farmers’ association has condemned the attack and the threats against the local population, demanding that the actions of 1999 not be repeated, and that the army find those responsible for this crime.



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