Human Rights Organisations Report Paramilitary Threats in Cucuta

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 11 March 2011

Human Rights organisations in Cucuta, in the Northern Santander Department of Colombia have reported threats to the community from paramilitaries. The region has suffered severely from paramilitary attacks in the past, with, according to local organisations, over 10 thousand peasants killed, 130 thousand displaced, and 800 disappeared. whilst the goevrnment claims that the paramilitaries have been demobilised, recent incidents suggest that across several regions of the country paramilitary organisations continue to operate, often in conjunction with the armed forces.

In Northern Santander this has been the case with groups calling themselves the Black Eagles, Rastrojos, and in the latest threat – the Scorpion Commando. On February 17th in the settlements of El Rancho and Quebrada del Chancho 50 heavily armed men in military uniforms identified themselves to locals as paramilitaries. Three days later armed paramilitaries robbed a peasant farmer on the road between the two villages. That night the villages were targeted by pamphlets which gave an ultimatum to “drug dealers, rats, drug addicts” and what it called “fake paramilitaries and fake guerrillas” stating that “social cleansing” of the area was necessary. Human rights organisations and social organisations in the area report that the community is now living in fear.

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