Assassinations Continue in Arauca

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 10 June 2011

According to reports from local human rights organisations in the region of Arauca, paramilitaries continue to operate there; assassinating residents and persecuting communities. The organisations complain that the authorities are not doing enough to protect people or to investigate the crimes being committed.

At 7.15pm on June 5th, in the neighbourhood of Santander, Tame, 32 year old peasant farmer Walis Freth Barreto from the village of Tamacay was shot dead. In the same incident, the victim’s brother, Frander Frey Fandino Barreto was shot in the stomach and another man, Jose Alexander Valdez Ortiz was shot in a buttock.

This latest incident is one of several in recent weeks, which according to local human rights activists, demonstrate that the violence continues to be perpetrated at an alarming rate.

On June 6th, in the Arauca river, ‘Bocas del Arauca’ area, the decomposed body of 58 year old woman Fanny Francisca del Castillo Ortega was found. She had been kidnapped five days earlier on June 1st on her way to a hospital appointment.

This followed the murder on May 31st of a 15 year old boy, Cristian Mauricio Munoz Suarez, on the road between the town of Saravena and Puerto Narino.

On May 16th in the village of La Cabuya, Tame, a local man, Albeiro Goyeneche Leal was murdered. His car was later found in a different municipality.

Organisations are calling on the authorities to properly investigate these crimes, and to take measures to protect the residents of Arauca. The region has long been one of the most affected by the Colombian conflict. There have also been numerous cases of state security forces being involved in the abuses of civilians in the area.

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