Community leader murdered in eastern Colombia

Community leader Carlos Andrés Sánchez was murdered yesterday in the eastern region of Catatumbo, which has seen high levels of violence due to militarisation and the presence of armed groups.

37-year-old Carlos was driving to the nearby town of La Gabarra when two assailants on a motorbike opened fire. According to the Peasant Farmers Association of Catatumbo (ASCAMCAT), which works with JFC and has seen several members killed in recent years, the killing took place just one mile from an army checkpoint.

Carlos is the fourth social activist murdered so far this year in Tibú. On 10 January, ASCAMCAT member Tulio César Sandóval was murdered in Tibú, while ten days later Fernando Quintero Mena, president of his local Community Council, was also kiled in the zone. Efrén Jesús Ospina Velásquez was killed on 9 February.

In August 2018, a delegation of the JFC Peace Monitor visited Tibú to meet with ASCAMCAT representatives and community members impacted by the ongoing political instability in the region. The military has also committed human rights violations in Catatumbo. In April 2019, soldiers committed the premeditated murder of FARC former guerrilla Dimar Torres, while in March this year they reportedly killed 20-year-old peasant farmer Alejandro Carvajal in his home.