Six Civilians Massacred by Army in Catatumbo

News from Colombia | on: Saturday, 19 April 2008

Troops of the 30th Brigade of the Colombian Army have massacred at least six civilians in the Catatumbo region of Norte de Santader department. Though details of the killings are still emerging, four of the victims are thought to be children, including one aged 11 and another 12-years-old.

The massacre occurred on April 16th in the village of San Isidrio in the municipality of El Tarra which has been the scene of intense military operations since mid-March. Two of the victims have been named as peasant farmers Eimer Miguel Obregon Florez and Jose Ivan Gonzalez. As is usual in cases of extra-judicial executions, the Colombian Army has claimed that all of the dead were actually guerrillas killed in combat.

The International Peace Observatory, an international human rights group with personnel based on the ground in Catatumbo, has reported that the victims were in fact civilians but that full details have been difficult to establish due to family members being too scared to speak out or report the crimes. The Army regularly murders those that denounce extra-judicial executions.

The massacre comes only months after troops of the 30th Brigade were involved in the murders of seven other civilians in Catatumbo. For more information see:

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