Massacre in Putumayo – Youngest Victim 5 Year Old Girl
News from Colombia |
on: Friday, 18 February 2011
On February 11th, armed men forced their way into the home of 59 year old Luz Marina Roa Alfonso in the village of Dios Pena in San Miguel, Putumayo Department. There they proceeded to machete her to death, before going on to kill 35 year-old Luz Mery Roa Roa, the vice-president of the village neighbourhood association, and 5 year-old Sorith Julieth Alfonso Roa. All three had their throats slit with machetes, and Sorith had her hands chopped off. The paramilitaries then shot dead two workers on the farm. A third farm worker was able to escape.
The massacre occurred at the same time as a human rights public hearing was taking place in the nearby town of Puerto Asis on the consequences of Plan Colombia and increased military presence for the communities of the region. Nearly a thousand people travelled to report the abuses they have been subjected to since 2002. Those present included opposition politicians, Senator Gloria Ramirez, and Congressmen Ivan Cepeda and Hernando Hernandez, as well as representatives of the Catalan government and the UN. Over 2 days, 390 testimonies were heard of extrajudicial executions by the armed forces, of forced disappearances, torture by the army, of mass displacement, threats and looting and also of bombings and strafing. One tragic testimony was that of a 4 year-old girl shot in the leg by an army helicopter gunship. Peasants also spoke of the detrimental effects of fumigations which have often wiped out the crops of entire communities.
The politicians and other participants also visited the Puerto Asis cemetery where they saw numerous graves of unidentified bodies buried there – suspected victims of extrajudicial executions.
The area is controlled by troops of the 27th Jungle Brigade, the Jose Maria Melo Mechanised Group and Naval Force South, and for this reason local peasant, indigenous and afro-colombian organisations are demanding that the government do something about the presence of paramilitary groups in the area.
This is the second brutal murder to occur in the region in the space of a week – on February 5th Carlos Ayala a teacher and local trade unionist was killed in Puerto Asis.