Special Report on Atrocities committed by the Colombian Army.

Los niños y las niñas: otras víctimas de asesinatos por parte del Ejército colombiano

Not even Boys and Girls are spared by Colombian the Armed Forces

(Translated by Rolf Schoeneborn, Volunteer Translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, Volunteer Editor.)

Agencia Pensamiento Crítico (compilación)

Colectivo de Abogados Alvear Restrepo / Coordinación Colombia Europa Estados Unidos / Corporación Ca

The recent events in which soldiers of the 5th Mobile Brigade assaulted and killed three children in Arauca has the Colombian public wondering about the Armed Forces and its institutionality. But the fact that Colombian society is given to emotionality and has a short memory and is also often taken in by various strategic schemes used by the media and the political powers that be for their own ends, we would like to list below just some (not all) cases where children and adolescents assaulted and/or killed by those named above. who in theory at least should protect them and not victimize them.What follows should make us think about the implications of governmental politics on the questionable if not pathological behaviour of the Colombian military.

15-year-old killed in Medellín

15-year-old JHON FABER AGUIRRE TABORDA went with friends to the disco club ‘Oro Solido’ in Medellín (Antioquia) on August 18, 2002. At about 5 a.m. soldiers of the 4th Córdoba Platoon, attached to the 10th Infantry Battalion, Coronel Atanasio Girardot, 4th Brigade, entered the disco club for purposes of inspection, where Jhon Faber was talking to his friends. The soldiers forced Jhon Faber to leave the disco with them and also took along another youth by the name of Hernan Dario Vidales Hernández, whom they had apprehended in the neighboring barrio La Cruz. Neighbors in the area reported that after leaving the disco, the youths were taken by the military to another area known as La Torre, where their bodies were found sometime later.

When his body was found, Jhon Faber wore military-type garments like a ski mask and camouflage shorts. At the time of his arrest he was wearing blue jeans and a grey sweatshirt. The examination of the body showed that the camouflage shorts were just slipped over the blue jeans. The shorts were a size 40, but Jhon Faber was just 5’3″ tall. [1]

Young student killed by the military but claimed to have died in combat.

16-year-old ORESTE DE JESUS MORALES was killed by the Colombian military in Rionegro (Antioquia) on March 13 2003.

According to the complaint filed, Oreste was arrested by the ALCATRAZ unit of the 4th Artillery Battalion, 4th Army Brigade, on his way from home to school.

He was then taken to a site called la Partida de San Rafael, where he was retained all day. His family began looking for him and finally found him in the town morgue of Rionegro. He supposedly was killed in combat. [2].

Army responsible for the death of two 17-year-olds in Granada.

Soldiers of the 4th Artillery Battalion ‘Cr. Jorge Eduardo Sánchez Rodriguez’ came to the residence of the Ceballos family in the township of Los Medios/Granada (Antioquia) on July 13, 2003, where they met NELSON ABAD CEBALLOS y YESSICA MARCELA QUINTERO, both 17 years old. The soldiers forced them to come along and killed them minutes later on the outskirts of the township. The military took the corpses by public transport to the township El Chocó/municipality San Carlos (Antioquia) and an army helicopter took them away the following day.

A public viewing of the bodies was arranged for by the army to present them as guerrillas who died in combat. [3].

Young girl slain but claimed to have been killed in combat.

On September 17, 2003, the young girl LUZ ESTELLI MORALES ARIAS, aged 16, was at home in the township El Morro/Granada (Antioquia) along with her sisters Blanca Lili Morales Arias and Janet Morales Arias. A patrol attached to the 4th Artillery Battalion, Bajes, 4th Army Brigade, came to the house at 9:00 am to find out the names of those who lived there.

They indicated that they were looking for Luz Estelli and proceeded to arrest her and asked her sister Blanca Lilia to accompany them to a camp of theirs in the township La Linda. They also said that there was a woman in the camp who would determine if the girls were ok. Their return home would depend on a positive answer. On the way to the township La Linda one of the soldiers made her carry an army rifle and said that she looked good with it and seemed to have been taught how to carry it. When they arrived at the camp of the patrol a young girl whose face was masked stepped forward and said that Luz Estelli was the girl they had been looking for. After that she indicated that the young girl, wearing a red blouse, i.e. Blanca Lili , was not the person they were looking for. The soldiers asked Blanca Lili to leave immediately and indicated that her sister, being a minor, would be turned over to the Welfare Service (Bienestar Familiar).

Blanca Lili Morales Arias recognized the masked person who had pointed out her sister as one called LUISA (apparently named DEISY LILIANA PARRA GIRALDO), who weeks before had moved with her parents from the municipality San Carlos to the El Morro township and had become sort of friendly with her sister Luz Estelli. Bianca Lili immediately told her mother and both went to the place where Luz Estelli had been held captive and were told b y a guard of the military camp that the young girl in question had escaped.

That night of September 18, 2003, the Morales Arias family was at home in the El Morro township and hearing several shots fired feared that Luz Estelli had been killed. They immediately went to the La Linda townshiup and were told by people living in the area that the army unit had moved out at 5:00 a.m. but found several traces of blood.

This group of people set out right away to find the soldiers and did manage to find the patrol after some time. When asking a soldier about Luz Estelli, they were told that most likely she was about to be turned in because she had escaped to join a guerrilla force and to attack them and he also mentioned that they had been in fact attacked the night before. Furthermore, should she return home, she would have to appear before the 4th Artillery Battalion. People living in the area told Luz Estelli’s family later that they had seen a corpse resembling Luz Estelli on a pack animal when the military left the camp.

On that September 17 the military reported a fire fight with the ELN guerrilla in the El Morro township and when searching the area, they had found a woman who was identified by the deserter DEISY LILIANA PARRA GIRALDO as having been with her and also having been a member of the ELN. However, the remains of Luz Estelli were not found until May of 2006 when by order of the Human Rights Section of the Prosecutor’s Office (Unidad de Derechos Humanos de la Fiscalía) her body was exhumed which had been buried in an unmarked grave in San Carlos (Antioquia) [4].

The military ‘disappears’ a child and kills three persons in Tiquisio.

In the early morning of January 27, 2004, a military unit of the 4th Mechanized Arrmy Infantry Battalion “General Antonio Nariño” arrived at a cianuration (gold processing) reservoir located in the corregimientos (communities) Casa de Barro and Agua Fría/Tiquisio (Bolívar), where the miners Giovanny Vega Atencia and Jairo de Jesús Villalba Campuzano were found at work and arbitrarily arrested by the military.

Later,that very military unit detained and ‘disappeared’ Norberto Campuzano Zuleta and a child, aged 13, by the name of Osneider Solano Zuleta on the road that leads from Casa de Barro to Canónicos, in the area known as Cerro del Oso. In spite of being very anxious, the relatives could not begin the search for the missing until January 30 as a result of constant bombings by the military.

They immediately went to the military base of the Nariño Battalion, located in the corregimiento (community) El Coco, where they talked to a member of the military, a captain Espitia, who refused to say anything about the persons presumably detained. On the next day the relatives of the victims were accompanied to the base by more than a hundred people from the area who knew them as upstanding citizens and demanded information about the missing.

Captain Espitia talked to these people on that day and confirmed that Giovanny Vega Atencia, Jairo de Jesús Villalba , and Nolberto Campuzano Zuleta had been guerrillas and had been eliminated by the military. He also indicated that the bodies would be released in two or three days and that he did not know what happened to the missing child Osneider Solano Zuleta. When later asked to turn over the bodies, Captain Espitia told the relatives of the victims that an informant had identified the three as guerrilla fighters and therefore had been executed and their bodies taken to the El Banco municipality (Magdalena).

The relatives then decided to go to the military base of the Nariño Battalion, located in El Banco, where they were received by a sergeant Martín and later by somebody who refused to identify himself but saying he worked in the prosecutor’s office. He verbally abused the relatives and said that all local people belonged to the guerrilla and warned them in a threatening tone that they would have to suffer the consequences should they decide to file charges. Finally three army personnel who claimed to be officers showed them photos of the three persons killed and their identity was confirmed by the relatives.

These officers demanded that the relatives would have to get all the necessary papers from the registry office not only for the victims but also for themselves so that the bodies could be turned over to them. However, when the relatives presented all the papers asked for in order to retrieve the bodies the answer was, ‘no’ under the pretext that this was legally impossible because there was some documentation from the Santa Marta National Legal Medicine Institute missing. Even though the family members of those who had been executed extrajudicially by the Colombian army unit mentioned above asked repeatedly that their bodies be turned over to them the state failed to do so even though legally obligated. The body of the child was also never released by the army [5].

A 3-year-old child is killed during the course of a military operation in la Pemada.

The 3-year-old child Ricardo Guaraona was killed as a result of a military operation in a place called La Pemada, located on the collectively titled lands of Curvaradó in the municipality Murindó (Antioquia). The local people were threatened and abused and forced to remain seated or prone for approximately 15 hours.

As indicated in the charges made, the residents of La Pemada went out to harvest between 7:45 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. but returned being frightened and fled to one of the homes in the community because they had seen a group of men with small arms and light weapons wearing camouflage at some distance. Minutes later the camouflaged armed men and military personnel began shooting for at least 15 minutes.

After that, soldiers belonging to the 17th Brigade yelled at the people in the house (six families, 40 civilians), “throw yourselves on the floor and whatever you have in there.” During the shooting a soldier called out, “a child is dead,” and the shooting stopped.

Pastora Vidal, mother of the 3-year-old Ricardo Guaraona went to look for him and found him thrown on the ground dead. His mother picked him up and went back to the house. When the children started crying, the military allowed just one woman to get up to serve them food.

Meanwhile another group of soldiers took all the handbags of the persons there, took down the names of the children and adults in accordance with the identity cards and counted the people. The soldiers then had the girls move to one side and the boys to the other and took down their respective names and age. After that they called for the heads of family, asked how many boys and girls they had, took notes and compared all the information. During all this time nobody was allowed to speak.

The father of the dead child, Ricardo Guaraona Vidal, along with three other villagers was a 20 minute walk away from the scene and when the shooting stopped tried to walk quickly to his home but was stopped by a soldier who said, “Get down on the ground SOB guerrilla, where is your gun?”. The villager said, “The only gun I have are my hands to work with.” The soldier then said, “if you don’t keep quiet, I’ll kill you.” Ten minutes later he told him to get up at a distance of less than 100 meters, when another soldier said, “Where was this SOB guerrilla? He should have gotten killed.” Ricardo answered, “I’m a peasant farmer, if you want to kill me go ahead.” Another soldier said, “This dog is a guerrilla, he should be killed.” He struck him hard with the point of the gun in the neck. After insisting that he was a peasant farmer and after answering the question whether he had a son the soldier then said, “It was the one who got killed.”

At around 10:30 am they took the father of the child to see a lieutenant who said, “We already covered him with mud, we killed your child, but what can we do.” The peasant asked to hold a wake over the body of his child but the lieutenant denied this categorically. “No one has permission to leave here.” He added, “calm down, calm down … if you want, I’ll have a helicopter pick you up.”

The soldiers took the relatives of the dead child later to a place where the military helicopter could safely land. After a 30 minute walk with the relatives the army personnel got their communication equipment ready and contacted the 17th Brigade. Two representatives from the prosecutor’s office and a medical doctor took photos of the child, measured him, and took a photo of the mother and father.

Around 9:00 p.m. the remains of the dead child Ricardo as well as those of two men who according to the military had been guerrilla and killed in a fire fight in Caño Seco were transferred.

There was a wake for the child in a hall apparently paid for by the 17th Battalion on April 1st. 2004. During the transport one of the soldiers was heard to say, “You peasants do like to keep secrets a lot … those national and international fellow travelers are corrupt and are not on the side of the civilian population but rather on the side of the guerrilla.”

According to witnesses, an army official took down the report of the killing before the funeral rites and suggested that the family contact the Ombudsman’s Office and if they did not file a complaint in the next few days, “there will be no money for the child.” Ricardo’s father said, “You accuse us of being with the guerrilla, we are not, and now you just leave us like that, what are we going to do?”

He was then given COP100,000 (U.S. $40) and told, “Now we got this far. Don’t worry about the army, they know, nothing will happen to you.” The child’s funeral was on April 2nd. [6]

A 16-year-old girl and a peasant farmer killed by the army but said to have been killed in combat.

At 10:30 on July 3, 2004, soldiers of the Battery A, Atacador 2, 4th Artillery Battalion Bajes, 4th Army Brigade, came to the door of Oscar Alonso Salazar Aristizabal, located in the township San Francisco, municipality Granada ((Antioquia) . They arrested him though no crime had been committed and without any order to do so. One of his sons tried to come along to find out what would happen to his father but was told by one of the soldiers that his father would be coming back later. Some time later the soldiers arrested 16-year-old MILENA GIRALDO and took the two to the La Mesa township. The bodies of Sandra and Oscar were later found and taken by the army to the municipality Cocomá. The army claimed that the two had been guerrillas and been killed in combat, having been found to build a minefield in San Francisco township [7].

Three children killed in the San José de Apartadó massacre on February 21, 2005.

The children DEINER ANDRÉS GUERRA, 10 years, SANTIAGO TUBERQUIA MUÑOZ, 2 years, and NATALIA TUBERQUIA MUÑOZ, 6 years old, were killed, tortured and disappeared in San José de Apartadó, municipality Apartadó (Antioquia). Along with them were also killed their parents and relatives Alfonso Tuberquia Graciano and Sandra Muñoz Pozo, and Luis Eduardo Guerra, head of the Peace Community, and his wife Deyanyra Areiza Guzmán. The crimes were committed by soldiers of the 21st Army Brigade, who chopped up the bodies and buried them in two mass graves close to the Peace Ccommunity of San José de Apartadó [8].

The crimes were committed by nine non-commissioned officers, 58 professional soldiers, a captain, and three paramilitaries, the latter having been convicted since then. Likewise, three colonels accused the former chief of the Colombian Army Mario Montoya Uribe, now retired, who is at present the Colombian ambassador to the Dominican Republic as having been the presumed instigator of this massacre. [9]. However, trials are continuing and not all guilty persons have been convicted yet.

A 15-year-old child killed by the military in Granada.

On May 6, 2005, 15-year-old JAVIER AUGUSTO GARCÍA IDARRAGA, whose brother had been killed the year before, tried to fix the damaged water pipe at a neighbor’s house together with the young daughter of that neighbor.

When the two were about to start working on the pipe, they were intercepted by soldiers of the 4th Artillery Battalion BAJES, 4th Army Brigade. The soldiers yelled halt and opened fire immediately, killing the minor Javier Augusto. When the mother heard of her son’s death, she went to see the soldiers, who told her that a mistake had been made. Even though the military acknowledged that a mistake had been made, the youth was reported as having died in combat.

The year before, in August 2004, his brother ÁLVARO DE JESÚS GARCÍA IDARRAGA, aged 17, was sent by his mother to pick some oranges since she wanted to make juice for the children at the township school where she worked. There were shots and explosions heard in the area 10 minutes later. A little earlier, army units had crossed the school yard presumably because of a clash with hostile forces. The army came back hours later with the body of the youth, who was buried as NN [unidentified] in the Cocorná municipality (Antioquia).

On the 5th of May, 2006, the military court 23 for criminal investigation ( el Juzgado 23 de Instrucción Penal ,Militar) informed the Santuario prosecutor’s office that a preliminary investigation was under way in the case of a youth killed on the third of August 2004 during the course of the Espartaco military operation and that this youth was indeed Álvaro de Jesús. [10].

Young girl killed by soldiers in front of her sister

On February 15, 2006, SUSANA PATRICIA GALEANO, a young girl of 17, was at home with her younger sister Diana Sofia and her parents, doing house work. At about 12:30 p.m. a youth came by the finca and talked with the sisters Galeano for a few minutes and told them that there were military personnel approaching, whereupon the youth left with their destination unknown.

A few minutes later the sisters heard shots fired in the vicinity of their finca. Being afraid, Diana Sofia ran to the patio where her sister was sweeping.

A moment later they heard a voice outside asking everybody to get out of the house. Once they had left the house they saw various soldiers from the 4th Contraguerrilla Battalion, Granaderos, who shot young SUSANA PATRICIA GALEANO GALEANO without hesitation [11].

Girl of 3 and her parents killed in Garzón.

The military affirmed that they returned fire when shot at by the victims. On November 26, 2006, in Garzon (Huila) soldiers of the 26th Infantry Battalion Cacique Pigoanza killed MICHELE DAYANA ALVARADO MEJIA, a girl of 3.

Also killed were her mother and father. According to the report, the military claimed to have been ambushed and simply had returned fire. However, almost four years later on September 21, 2010, investigations showed that there had been no cross fire and that only army weapons had been fired. It was also found that neither Alvarado Rivera nor his wife belonged to any illegal armed group, and that in effect these persons had been killed by the military [12].

Youth killed by the Rionegro Gaula Group.

On February 24, 2007, at about 10 p.m., 17-year-old MAICOL ANDRES LOSADA ALVAREZ asked his grandmother for permission to go to a dance and left home with his friend Mario Andrés Arboleda Álvarez. They were last seen getting into a cab.

Family and friends began to worry the next day because the boy had not returned home which was very unusual. On the 25th of February his relatives began looking for him but failed to find him.

In the early morning of February 27, relatives of the boys were told that there were two bodies in the Guarne municipality morgue who resembled the missing boys. The mothers recognized the bodies as those of their sons. The Rionegro GAULA group (elite army unit) claimed that the two had been delinquents and had been shot during a sting operation on February 24 [13].

Army machine gun fire kills 5-year-old girl.

On April 2nd, 2007, army airborne troops in Charco (Nariño) indiscriminately machine gunned several rural areas of this municipality. Three women in a boat were also shot at with machine guns and a girl of five was killed. Machine gun fire damaged schools in Morrito, Magdalena, Rosario, Vuelta Larga, Pulvusa La Vega, and Pulvusa Pueblo Nuevo [14].

16-year-old boy killed in Cocorná.

On August 1, 2007, the military bombed a part of the township El Porvenir de la Florida in the municipality Cocorná (Antioquia) called Cañón de Río Verde and sometime later army personnel appeared there in camouflage so that the few inhabitants in this area took notice of them.

Around 4:00 p.m. 16-year-old ROBEIRO VALENCIA GONZÁLEZ left his home to take food in a bag or backpack to his brother and cousin Nelson Valencia y Mauricio Aristizaba, who had gone hunting and fishing. He was also carrying a percussion hunting rifle. At around 4:30 p.m. shots rang out in the vicinity of the houses as though a clash between the army and the guerrilla was taking place.

In the early morning of August 2 relatives began to look for Robeiro, Nelson, and Mauricio, but they just found the last two, who when they heard the shots had run away without meeting up with Roberto.

They continued the search and found in an area called El Chapucero in an abandoned house traces of blood and in another not far away called Plan de la Cruz, they found buried the bag with the food, the percussion rifle, and the jacket the boy had worn.

On the 2nd of August soldiers came to the door of the house of Robeiro’s family and asked for a pack animal or mule. The family refused to lend them an animal, but they took one anyway. Shortly afterwards they passed by with a corpse, but the soldiers did not allow the family to look at the body. They also refused to show the body, when it had been moved to the center of the San Francisco township. From there the body was moved to the township center of Cocorná, where the body was released [15].

16-year old retarded boy killed in Ocaña, passed off as guerrilla fighter who died in combat.

On August 31, 2008, JONATÁN ANDRÉS MEZA BADILLO, a mentally retarded boy of 16, whose cognitive functioning and behavior was that of a 10-year-old, was killed by the military in the Urama township/municipality de Àbrego (Norte de Santander).

According the report, Jonatán Andrés left home after having helped his mother unblocking a pipe, wearing blue shorts with a white stripe, yellow shirt, and blue flip-flops. His mother was waiting for him, so he could clean himself up and eat, but he did not come back. Initially she thought that maybe he got distracted somewhere in the township. However, since he did not come back all night and not in the morning either, she realized that something must have happened to him.

Jonathan’s mother alerted their family and started looking for him but to no avail. She went to different offices and institutions such as the national police, hospitals, the offices of the Ombudsman in Gamarra and Aguachica among others. A ‘missing person’ poster was also put up in visible places in Gamarra and Aguachica.

The media were also contacted to inform the public that any and all information regarding Jonathan’s disappearance would be appreciated. Finally on September 12, they were told by an acquaintance that he had heard on the radio that the body of a person killed in combat had been found in the Ocaña municipality (Norte de Santander). When the mother heard of this, she immediately contacted the local prosecutors in Gammara, who in turn contacted the local prosecutor in Ocaña, who asked her to go to the morgue in Ocaña to identify the body. The mother then went to Ocaña and did indeed identify the body as that of her son. According to the report by the prosecutor’s office, the boy was slain in clashes that took place in the township of La Urama, on August 31 and having been identified as a presumed subversive.

The claim by the army that Jonathan died in combat and that he was a member of a subversive group does not agree with the fact that the shots that killed him were fired at very close range and with the fact he was mentally retarded. When Jonathan was found, he did not wear camouflage garments but rather those clothes he was wearing when last seen [16].

Two youths slain by the military in Yondó.

Soldiers of the 7th Battalion Energético y Vial presumably were responsible for the deaths of two 15 and 16- year-old adolescents in Yondó (Antioquia) on Qctober 17, 2009.

The victims were apparently travelling by motorbike and hit by several bullets, even though there had been no previous identification and no order to halt either [17].

Young baby dies in military bombing.

A baby died on February 19, 2010 at around 11:30 am in Carepa (Antioquia), The baby and her family had been injured in a bombing carried out by army personnel on January 30, 2010 [18]. According to reports, there had been helicopter overflights and machine gun bursts heard on the Urada Jiguamiando Reserve in Alto Guayabal, Carepa (Antioquia) between 1:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. Later, at around 3:30, the indigenous residents heard helicopters that appeared like phantoms in the night and dropped bombs very close to their homes. As a result, one of the homes was destroyed. There were five persons in this house: three adults, and two children aged 8 and a new born just 20 days old. All of them except the 8-year-old child were gravely injured.

Aside from the houses, plots of manioc and plantain as well as many trees were destroyed. The victims suffered not only harassment but also displacement from the different armed actors and just returned to this area a year ago [19].

A Humanitarian Mission visited Alto Gayabal on February 5 and 6 to verify what happened. Their findings were:

  • The site of the attack, that is to say the forest, was completely devastated and burned within a radius of a hundred meters. Anything resembling nature, like trees, bushes or grass, had disappeared. There was just burned soil and various holes two meters in diameter and one meter deep, in which were found metal fragments, explosives, and shrapnel. Also found was a M60 high calibre shell casing of a machine gun, the kind helicopter gunships of the Colombian Armed Forces are equipped with.
  • José Nérito Rubiano Bariquim was wounded by shrapnel and as a result is paralyzed from the waist down and was knocked unconscious as a result of the detonation wave of the explosives. His wife, Marta Ligia Majoré, was wounded in the right knee by shrapnel and in the stomach by metal splinters. She was also knocked unconscious as a result of the detonation wave of the explosives. The three children were not injured but thrown outside by the explosions and were stunned and lost consciousness temporarily. When young Celina Rubiano regained consciousness she took the baby and her younger brother Jony Rubiano and fled to the hamlet to seek help. When the news of the attack spread in the community about 100 residents were chosen to investigate the attack on the Rubiano Majoré family.
  • When troops of the 17th Army Brigade under the command of major Oscar Góez found out about this incident, they took José Nerito to the hospital by helicopter, gave first aid to Marta Ligia and turned little Jony Rubiano Majoré over to a home of the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare ( Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar) in Apartadó (Antioquia)and took Celina and her 20-day-old son to the base of the brigade, where they stayed for two days.
  • On January 30 and 31, 2010, meetings were held with General Hernan Giraldo of the XVII Brigade, Brigadier Sergio Mantilla, commander of the VII Division, and the brigadier of the 3rd Combat Air Command (CACOM) Barranquilla and community leaders in attendance also. It was decided to compensate the victims for damages done and to take responsibility for the tragic events.
  • On February 11, 2010, four days after the visit by the Humanitarian Mission army troops were stationed once again in the Alto Guayabal community [20].

8-year-old dies as a result of indiscriminate attacks by an army Gaula group. According to the military he died as a “guerrilla fighter in combat.”

Jorge Eliécer Soto Mahecha and the child Didier Alexander Clavijo Jiménez were killed, and the 8-year-old child José Guillermo Valencia Pérdomo was wounded in the Aipe municipality (Huila) on March 25, 2010. Members of an army Gaula unit were presumed to be the perpetrators. The dead Jorge Eliécer Soto was claimed to have been “an extortionist for the Frente 66, a FARC guerrilla unit.”

On this day, members of the army, dressed in civilian clothes, but wearing Gaula jackets came to the Santa Rita township/Aipe municipality (Huila) and began to shoot people indiscriminately. They shot and killed the peasant Jorge Eliécer and the boy Didier Alexander, who was playing with his sisters. Shots were also fired at the school in Santa Rita, where the boy José Guillermo Valencia was shot in the leg, while he was at the blackboard for an exam.

The mother of the boy who was killed said, “the soldiers got out of the vehicle shooting.” The other mother whose boy was wounded said that “they got out by the school shooting,” and identified the perpetrators as being members of the Gaula, “who came in an armored car with tinted windows and when I saw that man who got out shooting, there was no crossfire but only those soldiers shooting.”

The mother of Jorge Eliécer Soto said about the killing of her son, “They killed him, unfortunately. And you know what happened, everybody saw him there on the ground without even a needle and nothing but with his papers and then they put camouflage on him. And while they were doing that, they said that he was with the guerrilla but he was not.”

Denying the claim of the army that these deaths were the result of a clash with a guerrilla group, a community leader indicates that “the army did not clash with anybody. They say there had been a fire fight, that’s a real lie; just ask anybody, they came in and started to shoot in the school just like they do in a slaughter house. They did not care that there were women on the premises.” A child living in this community added, “they came after me, trying to blow me away thinking I was with the guerrilla. But I just turned 12.”

The 9th brigade, which is stationed in Neiva township (Huila) has confirmed that the case is being taken up by the Military Court for Criminal Investigation 64 [21].

One child dead and four more injured in what was presumed to be a military operation.

A child is dead and four more gravely injured in El Tarra (Norte de Santander) between August 12 and 15, 2010, which brought about violent protests, with the army being held responsible for these crimes. What follows is a summary of the incidents:

  • On August 12, 2010, at 10:00 p.m. the 16-year-old son of Carmen Olivo Rincón was on the way home from a party with a relative of his. When they heard shots between Tarra municipality and Tarrita township they tried to get away and hid in a gully. When they thought the danger had passed, they continued on their way. However, when the soldiers saw them, they started shooting and wounded the son of Carmen Olivo in the left leg. His father took him to the city of Cúcuta to get medical attention.
  • On August 15, 2010, at 5:45 pm two shots were heard about two blocks away from the main park. Troops of the 23rd Mobile Brigade stationed in the town center of the municipality reacted with violence immediately. At this moment 16-year-old LUIS ESTEBAN CAMPO ROLON had just left a store and wanted to get on his motorcycle, when he was struck down by army bullets. He died instantly with the lower part of his face blown away. Witnesses reported that the soldiers threw down a pistol next to the body of the boy. Also injured in this incident were ALEXÁNDER DÍAZ OSORIO, 14 years old, and LEONARDO CARRASCAL also 14, and a girl whose name could not be determined, but who according to witnesses was shot in the abdomen [22].

The mayor of El Tarra, Jonny Márquez, expressed his concerns regarding these incidents in this community and reported that people were protesting against the wanton violence by the army. “The people are very upset and looted a bank ( Banco Agrario) and it seems that they also want to storm city hall because they are not “happy” with the explanation the army gave and he also hoped that this case would be investigated. [23]

14-year-old girl raped and killed along with her 6 and 9 year old brothers in Arauca.

On October 14, 2010, Tame (Arauca), members of the 15th Mobile Brigade killed, tortured, and disappeared three children aged 14, 9, and 6 after having sexually abused the older girl. The bodies of the children were found two days later by the parents, who with the help of members of the community had started looking for them and asked soldiers of this very unit for help which was categorically denied, “At this point the head of the Local Action Committee Caño Temblado asked the soldier for help so that the children could be exhumed, who were thought to have been buried in a ditch. “We can’t do this and it’s not our job,” was the cold and nervous reply of a lieutenant Muñoz.

“We let him know that the children were found dead in a common grave, and he said that he did not know anything about this. He also said that he just could not do anything in this case because it was a question of disinterment and the army was not authorized to do anything of the sort,” said the spokesperson of the community.

“After having been photographed with a cell phone without any comment by two other soldiers the peasant farmer left and got in touch with Àlvaro, the father, to let him know that a common grave had been found about 200 meters away from his home” [24].

Because of this criminal act “four officers and three non-commissioned officers were suspended from active service for failure to carry out the duties of a commanding officer and for failure to exercise control over the troops stationed in the area where the incident occurred.” In a private meeting general Rafael Neira, commander of the 18th Brigade, and general Javier Fernández, commander of the 8th Division offered their apologies to Señor Álvaro Torres, Father of the little ones, stating their “shame for this criminal deed and offered the father psychological help” [25].

But Señor Álvaro Torres, father of the children, charged that this meeting had taken place behind closed doors and without his prior consent, and that he had gone to the Columbian Institute for Family Welfare (ICBF) naively assuming the meeting to be about his dealings with the ICBF in order to be guaranteed some measure of dignity for himself and his children given the fact that he had become a victim of forced displacement. Señor Torres also told the social and human rights organizations that were assisting him that “the Armed Forces had not offered any apologies whatever for this horrendous crime committed by one or several soldiers but rather were trying to get him to consent to an interview to be broadcast by the mass media in which he would pardon the army. The situation did not change when Señor Torres asked the National Prosecutor General to intervene with the Supreme Command of the army to have the continued phone calls stop on Friday, November 5 in an effort to have him inform the media that he would accept the army’s apologies [26].

Family members not only had to endure pressure and intimidations but organizations such as Humanidad Vigente and the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CPDH), Arauca section, have been stigmatized by the Colombian army commander General ALEJANDRO NAVAS. He said in an interview given the Colombian daily on November 6, 2010 regarding this case and the children’s father, “Don Álvaro Torres is a father, who is anguished by the immense pain caused by this tragic loss. He deserves our solidarity and help. We helped him move to Arauca to ensure his safety and we in turn were assisted by the regional Prosecutor’s Office and other authorities. Foreign organizations have taken up his cause and have brought about his disorientation and are responsible for all the se charges made, which they do not do when thousands of other children get mistreated and killed. There’s no better opportunity to cast aspersions on the effort made by the army” [27].

After the massacre of the three children in Arauca, it became known that indigenous people, peasant women and displaced persons in Arauca are systematically deprived of their human rights as a consequence of the armed struggle that sweeps the region.

The following cases became known on April 2010: a girl raped by a soldier of the 18th Brigade and another girl killed in Arauquita, the disappearance, presumed rape, and killing of yet another 14-year-old. These crimes were committed in broad daylight and had nothing to do with the armed conflict and yet there is hardly any progress being made in the pending investigations. [28].

Likewise, the human rights defender Volmar Pérez Ortiz reported the violent death of 12 children in 2010, one killing presumably committed by army personnel (January20, 2010) and the kidnapping of three more between January and October of 2010 in other municipalities [29].

A 5-year-old child killed by the army. Family denies that there was any cross fire involved as claimed by the army and reported by the media.

According to the authorities, a 5-year-old child died in a cross fire between the military and a unit of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) in La Macarena on November 5, 2010. According to the Secretary of Defense “the Armed Forces initiated an internal investigation in order to determine the circumstances which led to the clash between The Joint Task Force OMEGA and the Frente 62 Yarí (Yarí Front) of the FARC, which led to the death of the child” [30].

There was a report filed by the dead child’s relatives and by the peasant community suggesting that the child was killed by military bullets directed at him and that the death occurred after the fire fight; i.e., the child did NOT die in a cross fire as claimed by the army. The relatives and the community have denounced the media for not having reported on their charges and reported that they have been threatened by the military battalion which insists that the death should be attributed to “random bullets in a cross fire.” The non-governmental organization Corporación Caguán Vive complained that the mass media had distorted the testimony given by the father of the victim Geider Dionicio “in order to disguise the fact that the army is responsible for the crime.”

For this reason The Human Rights NGO as well as the communities have called on the Colombian State and legal entities, national and international organizations engaged in the struggle for Human Rights that they keep checking, whether progress is being made in the investigation of this crime so that justice, truth, complete and satisfactory compensation, and a guarantee that no such crime will ever occur again will be ensured.”

Five hundred peasant farmers accompanied the coffin of Geider Dionicio in Florencia, Caquetá on November 8, 2010, demanding that army and police respect the human rights of the people of Cacetáeños.

But more information regarding this crime and the reports and charges by the family and community cannot be found in the media [31].


[1] Corporación Jurídica Libertad, Ficha de seguimiento sobre casos sobre ejecuciones extrajudiciales de la MEE, Medellín, abril de 2009.

[2] Corporación Jurídica Libertad, Ficha de seguimiento sobre casos sobre ejecuciones extrajudiciales de la MEE, Medellín, abril de 2009.

[3] Corporación Jurídica Libertad, Ficha de seguimiento sobre casos sobre ejecuciones extrajudiciales de la MEE, Medellín, abril de 2009

[4] Corporación Jurídica Libertad, Ficha de seguimiento a casos de ejecuciones extrajudiciales de la MEE, Bogotá, abril de 2009

[5] Corporación Sembrar, Ficha de seguimiento a casos sobre ejecuciones extrajudiciales de la MEE, Bogotá, noviembre de 2010.

[6] Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz, Denuncia Pública, Bogotá, 18 de abril de 2004.

[7] Corporación Jurídica Libertad, Ficha de seguimiento a casos de ejecuciones extrajudiciales de la MEE, Bogotá, abril de 2009.

[8] Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz, Denuncia Pública, Bogotá, 25 de febrero de 2010.

[9] Altos oficiales acusan al General Mario Montoya Uribe de masacre de San José de Apartadó, Radio Santafe.com. Bogotá, 5 de febrero de 2010.

[10] Corporación Jurídica Libertad, Ficha de seguimiento a casos de ejecuciones extrajudiciales de la MEE, Bogotá, abril de 2009.

[11] Corporación Jurídica Libertad, Ficha de seguimiento a casos de ejecuciones extrajudiciales de la MEE, Bogotá, abril de 2009.

[12] Fiscalía General de la Nación, Soldados profesionales asegurados por muerte de familia, Bogotá, 20 de septiembre de 2010.

[13] Corporación Jurídica Libertad, Ficha de seguimiento a casos de ejecuciones extrajudiciales de la MEE, Bogotá, abril de 2009

[14] Banco de Datos del Cinep, https://www.nocheyniebla.org/consul...

[15] Corporación Jurídica Libertad, Ficha de seguimiento a casos sobre ejecuciones extrajudiciales de la MEE, abril de 2009.

[16] Corporación Sembrar, Ficha de seguimiento a casos sobre ejecuciones extrajudiciales de la MEE, Bogotá, noviembre de 2010.

[17] Informe Anual del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos, Ginebra, 4 de marzo de 2010. http://ddhhcolombia.org.co/node/425

[18] Organización Indígena de Antioquia, Comunicado Público, Medellin, 22 de agosto de 2010

[19] Organización Indígena de Antioquia, Denuncia Pública, Medellín, 1° de febrero de 2010

[20] Misión Humanitaria de Verificación de situación en Alto de Guayabal, Informe Misión, 15 de febrero de 2010.

[21] Comisión Colombiana de Juristas, Colombia: casos de ejecuciones extrajudiciales atribuidas a la Fuerza Pública 1° de noviembre de 2008 a 31 de marzo de 2010. Bogotá, mayo de 2010.

[22] Fundación Lazos de Dignidad, Denuncia Pública, Cúcuta, 24 de agosto de 2010.

[23] Asonada en El Tarra por asesinato de un niño y heridas a otros tres, Diario La Opinión, Cúcuta, 17 de agosto de 2010.

[24] Miedo e indignación entre los habitantes de Tame tras asesinato de tres niños, Caracol Radio.com, Bogotá, 9 de noviembre de 2010.http://www.caracol.com.co/blog.aspx ? id=1383040

[25] Ejército se disculpa con la familia de los niños asesinados en Arauca, Revista Semana.com, Bogotá, 5 de noviembre de 2010.http://www.semana.com/noticiasnacion/ ejercitodisculpafamilianinosasesinadosarauca/ 146854.aspx

[26] Humanidad Vigente y Comité Permanente por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos de Arauca, Ejército presiona familia de niños violados y asesinados en Arauca, Arauca, 14 de noviembre de 2010. http://prensarural.org/spip/spip.ph...

[27] Caso de Arauca nos causa dolor y vergüenza’ :Comandante del Ejército, El Tiempo.com, Bogotá, 6 de noviembre de 2010.http://www.eltiempo.com/justicia/AR... NOTA_INTERIOR8298180. html

[28] Niñas y adolescentes de Arauca víctimas del conflicto armado, Humanidad Vigente, Bogotá, 20 de octubre de 2010.

[29] Defensoría del Pueblo, A propósito de la muerte violenta de doce menores de edad y el secuestro de tres más en Arauca durante 2010, Bogotá, 4 de noviembre de 2010. http://www.defensoria.org.co/red/ ? _item=0301&_secc=03&ts=2&n=1189

[30] Fiscalía y FF.MM. investigan muerte de niño en fuego cruzado, El Espectador.com, Bogotá, 8 de noviembre de 2010. http://www.elespectador.com/noticia...

[31] “El niño fue asesinado: NO murió en fuego cruzadohttp://www.kaosenlared.net/noticia/otro-infanticidio-ejercito-asesina-nino-3-anos-amenaza-familia-denunci

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