Army Executes Human Rights Activist

News from Colombia | on: Saturday, 22 March 2008

Less than two months after they killed a leading peace campaigner, the Calibio Battalion of the Colombian Army have murdered a human rights activst and peasant leader in the same area. 42-year-old Luis Horacio Ladino Guzman was killed on March 19th at 9am by troops who later claimed that they had killed a 'guerrilla' in combat.

The latest assassination carried out by the Battalion, which is part of the Colombian Army's 14th Brigade, occurred in the village of Campo Bijao in Remedios municipality of Antioquia department. On January 27th, troops of the Battalion also killed peace activist Miguel Gonzalez Gutierrez in the same municipality (for more see:

Mr Ladino, who had lived all his life in the local village of Cano Tigre, was well-known in the region and following his killing by the soldiers (who were under the command of a Lietenant Manrique), a large number of local residents went to protest at the nearby military base. Colonel Ramirez, head of the Calibio Battalion, allegedly told those who'd come to protest that his men had simply killed a FARC guerrilla. Witnesses say that the Colonel added that his men would continue to hunt down other 'guerrillas' a statement that local residents have taken as a threat. As a result some 80 people have fled the region to the city of Barrancabermeja.

Before his death Mr Landino had worked for 'Cahucopana, a regional the human rights group.

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