Paramilitaries threaten social organisations in southwest Colombia again.
Aida Quilcué amongst those declared as military objective by paramilitaries
Paramilitaries have again threatened social organisations across the southwest region of Colombia, as paramilitary violence and threats continue to intensify in the Andean country. Indigenous leader Aida Quilcué was amongst those threatened, a month after she returned from a trip to the UK at the invite of Unison Northern and the Northern TUC, in conjunction with the Colombia Solidarity Campaign.
The threat is signed by the ‘Grupo Armado Los Ratrojos – Comandos Urbanos’, a new generation paramilitary militia based in Nariño department, and dated November 2009. It names Aida and several other social organisations and individuals which operate in the South West region of Colombia.
Aida is ex-leader of the Cauca Regional Indigenous Council (CRIC), spokesperson for the Minga of Social and Communitarian Resistance, and currently a pre-candidate for next March’s Senate elections. Her husband Edwin was murdered by the Colombian army in December 2008 in an attack seemingly meant for Aida herself.
During October, on two occasions Aida was regularly followed by strange cars and individuals. On one occasion two men who were following Aida were apprehended by indigenous guards, who found that the men were armed and weren’t carrying any identification, a criminal offence in Colombia. On another occasion, four men in a car were seen monitoring Aida’s house. The car’s registration plate was recorded, but when the details were taken to the police to ask them to run a check on the vehicle, the reply was that this registration doesn’t exist.
The other organisations and individuals named in the threat are: CREAR, ARCOIRIS, NARINO DEPARTMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE, FUNDEPAZ, NATIONAL MOVEMENT OF VICTIMS OF STATE CRIMES (MOVICE), UN DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME NARINO, PASTORAL DE TUMACO, UNIPA, CAMAWARI, CRIC, MIGUEL FERNANDEZ, MIGUEL FERNANDEZ, ALVARO RUIZ, ACIPAS, RODRIGO MARQUEZ, FUENDEPAZ, HERNAN VAQUERO, CRISTINA TAMAYO, PRADERA INDIGENOUS RESERVE, CAMPO ELIAS DICNE, REDEPAZ TULUA, CARMEN MEDINA, POLO DEMOCRATICO, CARLOS OLIVEROS.
The threat states that all have been declared as military objectives ‘after a long and extensive intelligence process’, and accuses all of the organisations and individuals of being guerrillas. It comes after a shower of threats and violence against social organisations in the region over the past month.
In Cerro Tijeras indigenous reserve, Cauca department, three community members have been murdered in the past three weeks, and another seriously injured (See Urgent Action 20 November 2009). During her trip to the UK Aida expressed concern for her safety upon returning to Colombia, but said that she had to go back “because she dreams that Colombia can one day be different, a country with social justice and peace, and without arms”.
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21 November 2009