(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

Witnesses have confirmed that on Monday, March 28, at 7:00 a.m., for approximately twenty minutes, some twenty armed men dressed in black, some of them wearing masks, surged into the village, firing indiscriminately at the people that were there during a community festival that included a bazaar.

Videos and other evidence will demonstrate that there never was any combat. The Community was having a party; that’s what was going on in El Ramanso on Sunday, March 27 at 5:45 p.m.

Days after the massacre in the village of El Remanso, in Puerto Ospina District, in the Municipality of Puerto Leguízamo, we hear the testimony that contradicted the versions by officials of the national government about the operation that ended barbarously, with the deaths of eleven people, including an indigenous governor, a president of the Community Action Board of El Remanso, his wife, and a teenager, a campesino worker, as well as four who died of their wounds, and three women.

Witnesses confirmed that on Monday, March 28 at 7:00 a.m., for about twenty minutes some twenty armed men dressed in black, some of them with masks, surged in, firing indiscriminately against the people who were still at the place where the community festival with a bazaar had been.

In spite of the fact that many survived the armed attack, the survivors were not allowed to help the wounded. The indigenous governor Pablo Panduro was among them, and he bled to death, the witnesses said.

The armed men, after checking on the ones who had died, moved the bodies and placed weapons and other military equipment next to them. Every once in a while they would fire into the air, while they forced the survivors to lie face down on the ground.

Later on, the ones wearing masks, after rearranging the scene of the multiple crimes, made threats and some of them went down to the shore of the river and then put some piranhas and some of the bodies into a military helicopter.

With regard to the videos that Defense Minister Diego Molano showed as evidence, sources insist that the 12-second recording showing armed men was never made in the village of El Remanso, and certainly not during the community event. No witness has denied that there are irregular groups in the region, but before the armed incursion, only civilians were present in the village. The witnesses suggest that this Defense Ministry video was filmed somewhere else.

In spite of the fact that Army sources have leaked to the media that the principal objective of the military operation was Carlos Emilio Loaiza, alias “Bruno”, and that “Bruno” is dead, so far, none of the eleven bodies identified corresponds to Carlos Emilio.

The photos and videos are blurry and not clear at all, but they are flimsy evidence that seeks to hide the real fact of an arbitrary military action, out of proportion, that violated human rights and international humanitarian law. It was an operation that, in a rational government respecting the Rule of Law, would never have taken place.

This military action sums up President Duque’s term in office: an administration that despises the lives of the most humble and defenseless people, that has torn the peace to shreds, and that continues to view matters of security through the doctrine of the internal enemy.

The pretext of combatting irregular groups against every legal regulation is sickening. Nothing justifies what happened, an arbitrary use of force, a prior plan to cover it up with masked killers, altering the scene of the crime, media tall tales afterward, all to hide the government’s criminality.

If there were so many armed men, why wasn’t there a different plan? Why couldn’t they be captured? Why a massacre? Why did they simulate a battle in the midst of the set-up of the murdered victims, putting weapons beside their bodies? If a soldier was wounded, who wounded him? What are the results of the ballistic tests? Where were the bullets coming from? If there were armed men, why kill the unarmed people and later put weapons and other items beside their bodies? If it was a clean operation, why move the bodies and rearrange the scene of the crime?

The criminality of this government might face an effective legal system, as well as some new security policies and verified public information.

International intervention is needed to guarantee legality.

April 1, 2022

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