Two people assassinated by paramilitaries in Jiguamiandó

Yesterday, sometime after 7:30 p.m., the bodies of two youths killed by paramilitaries in Jiguamiandó were left in front of the Caño Claro Andalucía Humanitarian Zone in Curvaradó.

According to witnesses, ten paramilitaries seized the two youths in Bella Flor Remacho after the youths refused to give them a ride in their boat. Hours later, the youths appeared with indications of having been beaten on their heads with wooden clubs, which caused their deaths.

The military soldiers, who are stationed at a permanent checkpoint at the Caño Claro Bridge very near the Caño Claro Andalucía Humanitarian Zone, did nothing when the two dead bodies were found.

In the last three weeks, there have been two forced disappearances and these two assassinations by the paramilitaries. In addition, more than 31 people trying to regain their territory were threatened with death.

The paramilitary operations in the communal territories of the Afro-descendents in Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó have become more visible and forceful since April. An estimated 500 paramilitaries are protecting the coca cultivation and the bad-faith occupation focused on reactivating the palm, planting banana and yuca, and extensive cattle ranching expansion.

Despite the fact that this paramilitary presence, with the clear tolerance and joint actions in certain situations of the 17th Brigade and Urabá Police, has been denounced, nothing has been done to confront this criminal operation.

In a hearing before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the then Director of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Relations stated that there should be no concern about the paramilitary operations since there had not been any assassinations or disappearances, dismissing the denunciations of the victims and their accompaniers. Now that functionary has a high position in the National Prosecutor General’s Office.

The paramilitaries continue to run amok in the territories of these Afro-Colombian communities of the Lower Atrato while the national government has not succeeded in generating full guarantees for the restitution of property stolen by the paramilitaries and palm, banana and cattle companies since 1996.

Bogotá, D.C., August 28, 2011

Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz

Interchurch Justice and Peace Commission