Paramilitaries threaten community members in northern Colombia

Colombia’s National Ombudsman has called for urgent state action to in the town of El Salado, department of Bolívar, after death threats purporting to be from a group identifying as the Black Eagles named several local residents and warned they would be killed that same night unless they left the area.

The threats also referenced a paramilitary massacre committed against the same community in 2000 which left more than 100 people dead, one of the worst such incidents in Colombian history. ‘We started 21 years ago and you already know what we’re capable of,’ said the threats.

The region continues to see a high paramilitary presence. According to the National Ombudsman, paramilitaries have imposed strict controls on the local population, preventing them from moving freely, issuing threats and impacting on commercial activity. In addition to security deployments, the Ombudsman called for emotional support for community members impacted by the situation.