Paramilitary siege of Lower Council in Curvaradó

At 6:40am a group of armed paramilitaries, some with pistols and others with rifles, were preventing inhabitants of the Villa Luz Lower Council in Curvaradó from going to specific spots with cell phone signal. The paramilitaries prohibited the Lower Council members from making any form of communications.

Some of the inhabitants who have managed to break the paramilitary siege are leaving the region, in fear of reprisals for disobeying the paramilitaries’ orders.

According to a witness, the paramilitaries had arrived there the day before. They offered to buy civilian clothes and pressured inhabitants to sell cell phones, paying 300 thousand pesos ($150 US). They argued that the promised reinforcements hadn’t arrived.

Some of them indicated that they were not going to leave the territory, and that the fights with the other paramilitaries were going to end because they have the common goal of defining the business structures in the territory.

In recent days, there have been clashes between paramilitary groups because of disagreements between the commanders on the participation of businesses and the compliance with the goals that the business sectors, that are behind the paramilitaries, have defined.

The paramilitary operations have occurred in the midst of control operations by the 17th Brigade. These operations have occurred in strategic places or when the military has withdrawn.

Right before publishing this report, it was discovered that 17th Brigade military units traveled to the area with paramilitary presence.

The paramilitary social control combined with the economic control that is being implemented for the cultivation of coca, palm, bananas and large-scale cattle ranching is preventing the guarantees of collective property land restitution.

Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz

Interchurch Justice and Peace Commission