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    NewsLatin AmericaWeekend in Colombia: four massacres, two leaders and two journalists assassinated, and human remains in bags

    Weekend in Colombia: four massacres, two leaders and two journalists assassinated, and human remains in bags

    In a symbolic act in Medellin, a woman hugs a coffin to reject the massacres in Colombia, on August 24, 2020.Luis Eduardo Noriega A. (EFE)

    Colombia has just experienced one of the most tragic and bloody weekends in its recent history. Between Friday, August 26 and Sunday, August 28, four massacres occurred, leaving 13 people dead. Two journalists and two social leaders were also assassinated, according to the Institute of Studies for Development and Peace (Indepaz). In addition, human remains were found in garbage bags in the cities of Buga and Cali. The murders seem to be unrelated to each other and reveal multiple local violent conflicts in the south-west, north-west and north of the country, which, although they have different dynamics, often include drug trafficking. So far in 2022, there have been 72 massacres, 11 since President Gustavo Petro came to power. At least 222 people have died in these violent events.

    On Friday afternoon, armed men murdered three indigenous people from the Panan and Chiles reservations, in the municipality of Cumbal, in the department of Narino, in southwestern Colombia. The victims were Adriana Guerrero Tarapuez, Emilson Calpa Tupue and Diego Armando Espana. The Movement of Indigenous Authorities of Colombia (AICO) denounced that in the area known as La Puerta they were attacked by armed individuals, who shot them several times. “This crime is added to the systematic murders and human rights violations perpetrated against our indigenous peoples and communities,” they denounced in a press release.

    At one in the afternoon of the following day, on Saturday the 27th, four men were murdered in the Pueblo Nuevo neighborhood of Cucuta, capital of Norte de Santander, in the northeast of the country. “Apparently armed men entered the area and attacked people who were inside and outside a car workshop,” reported Indepaz. So far the identity of the victims is unknown.

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    That same Saturday, three people died violently in the Montes de Barranquilla neighborhood, on the Caribbean coast, outside a public establishment. Gunmen traveling on a motorcycle killed Jorge Eliecer Aguilar, 54, and Carlos Julio Suarez, 68. Angel Mesias Alejandro, 33, died hours later, when he was receiving medical attention.

    The last massacre of the weekend, and number 72 so far this year, was on Sunday the 28th in the municipality of Caldono, Cauca, again in the southwest. Three community members from the Resguardo De San Lorenzo were killed by armed men. “In a first incident, an 18-year-old boy was attacked, who received several bullet wounds, later the same perpetrators murdered the brother and cousin of the first victim, who were in a nearby house,” Indepaz revealed through its social networks.

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    Added to these violent acts is the murder of journalists Leiner Montero and Dilia Contreras, on a road in the municipality of Fundacion, Magdalena, when they were returning from covering some patron saint festivities. According to the Police, armed men on motorcycles attacked the vehicle in which the reporters on the Caribbean coast were traveling.

    Adriana del Rocio Guerrero Tarapuez, an indigenous leader from Narino, who in 2021 served as police inspector of the reservation to which she belonged, and Neiver Pertuz, a renowned community leader from the Santa Rita de Acacias corregimiento, also died over the weekend. which is located in the municipality of Remolino, Magdalena. “Pertuz stood out for leading some road improvement projects, in health, among other issues,” explains the NGO indepaz, which reported in a press release that by 2022 there will already be 122 murdered social leaders.

    Faced with this wave of violence, Leonardo Gonzalez, coordinator of the observatory of conflicts and human rights of Indepaz, explains that these acts have been committed “for the most part by the armed groups that provide security services to drug traffickers.” According to Gonzalez, the escalation of the conflict in different areas of Colombia is a challenge to the human security policy of the new government. “The unified command posts must protect the civilian population, early warnings from the Ombudsman’s Office must be taken into account, and the Prosecutor’s Office must clarify the facts as soon as possible,” Gonzalez insisted.

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    President Gustavo Petro referred this Monday morning to the acts of violence. “I have asked the Minister of Defense to guarantee the protection of the lives of Colombians throughout the territory. Colombia cannot be the country of massacres, that history of blood must be left behind, ”the president wrote on his Twitter account.

    The increase in massacres and murders this week is reminiscent of a poem by Colombian writer Piedad Bonnett called Cquestion of statistics: “There were twenty-two, says the chronicle. / Seventeen men, three women, / two children with dazed eyes, sixty-three shots, / four creeds, three deep curses, muffled, / forty-four feet with their shoes, forty-four unarmed hands, / a single fear, a hate that crackles, / and a thousand silences spreading their bandages over the mutilated soul”.

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    Source: EL PAIS


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