Abuses by police after an attack by the FARC

Tuesday morning, June 5, there was a FARC guerrilla attack against soldiers of the 17th Brigade less than 15 minutes from the Camelias Humanitarian Zone in which members of the community councils of Curvaradó live.

Combat was heard for thirty minutes afterwards.

According to unofficial reports, the FARC guerrillas wounded several soldiers of the 17th Brigade who were transported by helicopter to receive medical attention. The same sources indicate that four soldiers are in the power of that group of armed dissidents.

An hour after the combats, Arnobis Durango, a community council member and a leader in the process of reclaiming the lands, who was in the Camelias Humanitarian Zone, set out for Belén de Bajirá. In the port of Brisas de Curvaradó, he was approached by members of the police who took him onto a pickup truck by order of a corporal. A resident named Jairo López was detained along with Arnobis.

The police took him to the location of the combats. They took him to a canal about 20 meters from the road. They made him take off his shirt; they took his cell phone and personal documents. The corporal told him that he had time to escape if he told “the truth” regarding the movement of the guerrillas and their attack in Curvaradó.

The police claimed that the residents of the Humanitarian Zones, where members of the community councils live, were a civilian population mixed with the guerrillas. The corporal took pictures of him and took note of his personal information and also that of his wife and children. Another member of the police maintained that the leader, Maria Chaverra, was probably with the FARC guerrillas and asserted that if she had participated in the combat, they would “let her have it.”

The persistent armed conflict in the territories of Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó continues to validate the purpose of the Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones where the members of the community councils live or grow their crops and protect the ecosystems.

The actions of the FARC guerrillas have served as a pretext for the restrictions, violation of rights, and abuses of authority directed at one of the leaders of the restitution process, Arnobis Durango, a leader of the community councils. The leaders and members of the community councils fear a new phase of accusations and vilifications against inhabitants of the Humanitarian Zones. It is hoped that in the coming hours the results of these armed operations will be known.

Bogotá, D.C. June 5, 2012