Soldiers and Paramilitaries Carry Out Massacre in Narino Department

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 24 March 2008

A paramilitary death squad collaborating with troops of the 14th and 19th Brigades of the Colombian Army have massacred three men and disappeared another in the municipality of Ricaute in the department of Narino in southwest Colombia.

The joint operation occurred on March 22nd after paramilitaries and soldiers went into the village of Candillal and took three civilians away. Alonso Rosero, Jony Sotelo and Paulino Fajarda were all forced to accompany the armed men towards the nearby village of Las Vegas. During the 1-hour trip other armed men, in civilian clothes but with army equipment, joined the group. This second unit brought with them local teacher Manuel Antonio Rosero from the 'Cumbas' school, also in Ricaute, who they had detained some time earlier.

At approximately 5.45pm the group reached a bridge known as 'Coascabi'. Locals reported screams and gunfire coming from where the men were and upon further investigation three of the detained civilians were found murdered. Despite efforts to locate the body of Mr Rosero, he has not been found but is, according to local human rights activists, assumed dead.

Human rights groups in the region say that both the 14th and the 19th Brigades of the Colombian Army are currently collaborating closely with a paramilitary death squad in Narino department. In late December JFC reported that soldiers of the 19th Brigade had threatened local residents that a paramilitary unit would soon be arriving in the area. Their threat now appears to have become a reality.

For the previous story on abuses in Narino department see

UPDATE: On March 25th the body of Manuel Antonio Rosero was discovered. He too had been murdered.

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