At least eight people have been killed and three others injured in an attack on a pool hall in the northeastern region of Catatumbo. The attack took place at around 3pm on Sunday 29 July in the town of El Tarra.
Wilfredo Canizares, director of the human rights organisation Fundación Progresar, said that the attack demonstrates the ‘Colombian state’s loss of control in the Catatumbo region. Today it is in the hands of those who want to impose hatred and intimidation’.
The attack in El Tarra comes as Catatumbo suffers high levels of political violence between rival armed groups. Thousands of people have been displaced by ongoing conflict while the region is one of the most dangerous for social leaders, with several people killed there so far in 2018.
One of the victims was named as Freddy Quintero, the local president of the ASCAMCAT rural organisation for peasant farmers, which has been a close partner of Justice for Colombia over the years. In 2013, JFC accompanied the extended strike organised by ASCAMCAT over demands for improved conditions in rural communities. JFC has also organised visits by ASCAMCAT leaders to the UK and Ireland.