(Translated by Eunice Gibson, a CSN volunteer translator)
Source: Peace Community of San José de Apartadó
In spite of our demands and certifications, the paramilitaries continue carrying out their military/civic war plans in the towns of Rodoxali, Zabaleta and La Hoz in the District of San José. They are building highways and housing there—all of the materials are brought by paramilitaries from the urban part of Nuevo Antioquia and later, they make the civilian population transport the building materials to the towns. All that goes on in full view of the complacent local, regional, provincial and national authorities. In the face of these and other events, our Peace Community once again certifies, before humanity and history, these new incidents that are being added day after day to the long list of crimes against our Peace Community and its neighbors, crimes that enjoy absolute impunity. The latest events are:
• On Tuesday, May 6, 2014, at about 9:45 a.m. and up to 9:55 a.m. two explosive devices were detonated. The first was in the place called La Antena, next to a military base illegally installed there, and the second was detonated in the urban part of San José de Apartadó.
• On Wednesday, May 7, 2014, a group of masked and hooded paramilitaries was seen carrying long guns in the outskirts of the place called Los Mandarinos. That is the town where a resident was murdered.
• On Friday, May 9, 2014, at the place known as El Barro in the town of Mulatos, in the District of San José, there was a confrontation between military troops and FARC guerrillas.
• On Wednesday, May 14, in the town of Mulatos, military troops detained a member of our Peace Community illegally. They tried to make him give information about the location of the guerrillas, because, according to the soldiers, the Community always knows the movements of the guerrillas. After a few minutes of harassment, they set him free.
• On Friday, May 16, 2014, military troops who had been camping in the town of Buenos Aires, which is part of the San José District, were found on some property belonging to our Peace Community, in the town of La Unión, near fields being cultivated by families from our Community. The presence of the soldiers terrified the animals in the corral we have there. Also the soldiers prohibited members of the Community from coming near the place.
• On Saturday, May 17, 2014, around 9:30 a.m. there was a confrontation between military troops assigned to the 24th Mobile Brigade and the FARC in the town of Esperanza which is part of the San José District. The soldiers had arrived a few minutes before at the home of the campesino Teodoro López. They sacked the house and stole animals from the corral, along with other belongings as well as food needed for the family’s survival, and they destroyed the family’s clothing. The soldiers used the home as an entrenchment and a shield. By the end of the battle, the home was damaged by the projectiles from the firefight.
• On Tuesday, May 20, 2014, in the town of La Unión, Luis Arnoldo David, a member of our Community, was detained by military troops there. They made him stretch out on the ground and subjected him to physical and psychological abuse, accusing him of being a guerrilla chieftain operating in the Province of Córdoba.
• On Wednesday, May 21, 2014, at about 11:30 a.m. some members of our Peace Community, accompanied by internationals, were in the town of La Unión. A group of soldiers had been walking around in our plantings. When we asked them to leave, since these are our community’s workspace, besides being private property, the soldiers said that they were there by order of their superiors and thus would pay no attention to the Community’s concerns. When they were asked for identification and chain of command, and the Brigade to which they belonged, they said that they belonged to the Colombian Army’s 11th Brigade, but another soldier said that they were from the 17th Brigade. This kind of behavior by the soldiers is nothing more than a way to evade responsibility and avoid identifying the Brigade, so that we could file a complaint.
• On Thursday, May 22, 2014, military troops assigned to the 24th Mobile Brigade arbitrarily barged into the homes of our Peace Community in the town of La Esperanza.
• On Saturday, May 24, 2014, around 9:00 p.m. several shots were heard at the military base in San José. We ask ourselves: were the shots fired to threaten the civilian population on the night before the presidential election?
In spite of all this persecution and of crimes and impunity without end, our Peace Community will stand firm on our principles of life and dignity.
Peace Community of San José de Apartadó
May 26, 2014
(This translation may be reprinted as long as its content remains unaltered and the source, author and translator are cited.)