Two more social leaders have been killed in different parts of Colombia, taking the number of political murders so far in 2018 to at least 14. The killlings were apparently committed by paramilitary groups.
On 29 January, Nixon Muttis was killed in Cantagallo, department of Bolívar. Nixon was a community council member and the community delegate to the National Coordinator of Coca, Poppy and Marijuana Growers (COCCAM) which works on voluntary crop substitution programmes under the terms of the 2016 peace agreement. Since the agreement was signed, around 20 COCCAM members have been murdered.
Nixon had previously made repeated denunciations about high levels of insecurity and the targeting of social leaders in the region. However, authorities took little action to address local concerns.
Also killed on 29 January was Leidy Amaya in San Calixto, department of Catatumbo, another region which has seen high levels of violence since the epace agreement was signed. She was a community health worker.
According to Colombia’s Institute for Studies of Development and Peace (INDEPAZ), 170 social leaders were murdered in 2017. In addition to the 14 murdered so far in 2018, three members of the FARC political party have also been killed. The Colombian government denies these crimes are systematic in nature but are rather the result of personal disputes involving the victims.