Santander Campesino Association
P.J. RES. G-0766 of the August 12 2004 by the Ministry of Social Protection
Affiliated with CUT (Central Union of Workers) Tax ID# 900118191-1
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN volunteer translator)
PUBLIC COMMUNICATION No. 171
SELECTIVE MURDERS AND THREATS CONTINUE IN THE MUNICIPALITY OF SABANA DE TORRES IN THE MAGDALENA MEDIO.
The Santander Campesino Association “ASOGRAS” files this complaint with the National and International Community and with all organizations that defend Human Rights
The Santander Campesino Association (“ASOGRAS”) rejects the new threats we have received from the paramilitaries known as the Gaitanistas of Colombia spread by flyers in the Municipality of Sabana de Torres.
- Last February 9 of this year at 1:30 a.m. death came to the municipality of Sabana de Torres in the early morning of that day, when two 17-year-olds were killed with guns there. The attack by the hit men was reported at about 1:30 in the morning where 17th Street crosses 20th Avenue in the El Progreso neighborhood. The attack that was reported took place right in the street and left two people dead. Another was injured and is now recovering in the hospital. CESAR ANDRES MUNOZ GUARNIZO AND DUVAN OSORIO, both 17 years old, were identified as the teen-agers attacked. They had several bullet wounds in their bodies. One of the youngsters died in the place where it happened, while the other one died a few minutes later when he was transported to the hospital. The situation has upset the municipality, since this place has been considered one of the calmest places in the province, as concerns selective homicides. Last year there were only three cases of this type of violent death. The victims had bullet wounds in their heads, chests and backs. In this same event, a 19-year-old man was wounded in left hand during the attack by the hit men.
- Last March 6 of this year there was another attack by hired killers. The victim, who lived in the Gaitán neighborhood there, was hit at about 9:30 at night. “The event took place in the sector known as “Los Churis” right on the public street.” LOPERA VIVAS had just left the jail last Friday, after she was allowed house arrest. During the armed attack, two other people who were nearby were injured when they tried to run away so as not to be hit by the bullets. However, it was not necessary to take them to the hospital. Only Lopera Vivas was admitted to the second level hospital in Barrancabermeja at about 11:30 p.m. “The person who was most affected and who was taken to Barrancabermeja is now out of danger.” But this situation has the whole Sabana community on alert because of the constant acts of violence.
- On March 8 of this year, last weekend, a double homicide was reported in the Municipality of Sabana de Torres, in Santander. Two people were killed by gunshots when they were leaving an establishment that is open to the public. This new case of murder in the locality has the Sabana de Torres community upset. The community has a positive reputation in this municipality of Santander as far as public order is concerned. The killings happened early Sunday morning when three subjects killed two young men from Sabana. “The two were drinking in a public establishment. They were just leaving when three individuals came up on a motorcycle, asking for some beers and all of a sudden they attacked them.” That’s what the residents reported about what happened that weekend. The two people killed were identified as WILMER BACCA AND ERIBERTO ORDUZ. They were remembered in the community as responsible young men who cooperated in the municipality. “People are really sad, because they were very strong and hard-working. You never heard them say anything inappropriate and they never got into trouble,” is what the people of Sabana said. In fact, ERIBERTO ORDUZ is remembered because recently, because of the drought, he helped to furnish water to the municipality with a tank car that must belong to his family. The statistics on this crime speak for themselves. At this point in 2016, the same number of people who have been murdered by violent people is the same number of people that were killed all of last year. Today the municipality is on high alert because of the things that have happened and the change in public order in recent days in the Santander region of Magdalena Medio.
- This is added to the new threats that are circulating in the municipality of Sabana de Torres. Last Sunday, March 6, it was announced that there would be a “social cleansing” and they named a group of people who would be killed in the municipality—people they accused of different things The threats come from a group that calls itself MANO QUE LIMPIA (THE CLEANSING HAND) and there is a picture of a black hand on the flyer. Today the community is terrorized because allegedly they have already murdered the people mentioned in that threatening flyer.
- This is added to past events such as Saturday, March 28, 2015 at a little after 9:00 p.m. in the Municipality of Sabana de Torres when HERMES ANTONIO SANTIAGO LOPEZ, 53 years old, was the victim of an attack that appeared to be by hit men at the door of his house in the Feria Neighborhood of the Municipality. It needs to be pointed out that this victim had been threatened and declared to be a military objective by the paramilitary group “Los Gaitanistas” on December 4, 2014 in the Municipality of Sabana de Torres. To this is added the events of Thursday April 10, 2015 when JUVENAL DORIA ANAYA, 36 years old, was also murdered, apparently by paid killers. He was killed in his own home in the Villa Paz Neighborhood of Sabana de Torres. This is the same place where ALEXANDER JIMENEZ SANTANA was seriously injured . He was taken to a hospital in the capital of Santander in serious condition. It’s plain that the presence of the Gaitanistas in the region of Sabana de Torres and Magdalena Medio creates grave dangers. In the same way on December 19, 2014, there was a threat from the Gaitanistas. They said that a group of people in the municipality of Sabana de Torres, social leaders, political leaders, leaders of victims in the Municipality, presidents of boards and the Provincial President of ASOGRAS, the 22 people who were threatened and the whole Sabana community are terrified by all of the threatens that arrive and are circulated every day.
- That the Attorney General’s Office, by the Attorney General, Dr. Eduardo Montealegre, order an exhaustive investigation of these threats and murders, determining responsibility for the threats, and that he capture and punish those responsible for the acts we are complaining of.
- Require that the National Protection Unit reinforce security and protection measures for our comrades who are being threatened, and provide strong protective measures that will guarantee the lives and physical integrity for these defenders of human rights, our comrades who are denouncing all of these happenings.
- We request accompaniment for the organizations that defend human rights, labor unions, Campesino Associations, Business Organizations, and NGO’s that join in our complaint, so that they can continue their work defending human rights to aid the campesinos and the community of Sabana, sending messages to the national government rejecting these threats and murders.
- We request the International Community to make a statement to the national government about the murders and threats in the Municipality of Sabana de Torres. We request the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights to make a statement and to order protective measures in this situation of threats and murders in the Municipality of Sabana de Torres, and to be attentive to the people who have been threatened. They have not received sufficient protection to defend their lives and their physical integrity from the threats, and the Colombian Government will be responsible if those who have been threatened are killed.
BUCARAMANGA, MARCH 10, 2016
ASOGRAS PROVINCIAL BOARD