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Urgent Action Network
Amnesty International USA
PO Box 1270
Nederland CO 80466-1270
Phone: 303 440 0913
Fax:303 258 7881
Disappearances'                              24 June 1998

COLOMBIA        Civilians in San Francisco, Sonson, Cocorna, 
Granada, La Union municipalities, department of Antioquia. 
                        Extrajudicially executed: Argiro Ramirez Guzman 
(Municipality of San Francisco)
Ovidio Antonio Lopez 
Hernando Ciro Lopez 
Jairo Rojas 
(Municipality of La Union)
Amnesty International is seriously concerned for the safety of civilians 
in the department of Antioquia following recent killings and death 
threats against them by security forces and paramilitary groups.

Members of the counter-insurgency Batallon Granaderos, Granaderos 
Battalion, have reportedly threatened communities in the municipality 
of San Francisco with a paramilitary incursion if the inhabitants do not 
disclose the whereabouts of guerrilla forces in the area.  Despite a 
heavy military presence in the area, Argiro Ramirez Guzman, a 
municipal worker, was reportedly killed by paramilitary forces in the 
municipality on 24 May 1998.

In Cocorna municipality, which is also heavily militarized, paramilitary 
presence has reportedly increased in recent months.  Paramilitary 
forces announced an imminent massacre in the municipality and 
threatened to kill owners of food stores unless they abandon the 

Paramilitary groups operating in Granada municipality are reportedly 
threatening an imminent incursion.  On 4 June, Ovidio Antonio Lopez 
Jaramillo and Hernando Ciro Lopez, who had reportedly fled the 
hamlet of La Honda in the nearby Carmen de Viboral municipality 
following threats by members of a paramilitary group, were killed in 
the municipality of La Union.

On 7 June a group of heavily armed men, believed to be members of 
a paramilitary organization, set up a checkpoint in the hamlet of 
Vallejuelo in Carmen de Viboral municipality. They threatened the 
local inhabitants, warning them of an imminent massacre. Witnesses 
have reported that paramilitary groups have operated in unison with 
members of the Batallon Juan del Corral, Juan del Corral Battalion of 
IV Brigade, in recent weeks. This battalion's presence in the area has 
coincided with an increase in paramilitary checkpoints on the road 
between La Union and Sonson municipalities.

On 13 June approximately 30 paramilitary group members identifying 
themselves as members of the Autodefensas Campesinas de 
Cordoba y Uraba (ACCU), Cordoba and Uraba Peasant Farmer Self-
Defence Groups, reportedly established a checkpoint on the outskirts 
of San Miguel hamlet. They forced passers by to shout slogans in 
support of the paramilitary group and checked their names against a 
lista negra, black list, containing the names and identity card numbers 
of local inhabitants considered to be guerrilla collaborators. Joih Jairo 

Rojas was reportedly forcibly abducted at the checkpoint by the 
paramilitary group and subsequently killed.

A series of recent paramilitary massacres carried out in different 
regions of Colombia, including the department of Antioquia, has 
heightened concern for the safety of the civilian population in the 
above-mentioned communities.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Members of the Colombian army 
and security forces and their paramilitary allies continue to commit 
serious human rights violations with virtual impunity. Over the past 
five years several thousand civilians have been killed by paramilitary 
groups throughout the country. The Colombian Government 
suspended the constitutional legal base for the formation of 
paramilitary organizations and issued directives to the armed forces to 
combat and disband such groups in 1989, yet they continue to work 
with the support of the security forces in many areas of the country.

President Ernesto Samper Pizano has repeatedly promised to 
improve the human rights situation and to dismantle paramilitary 
forces, but no steps have been taken to control their actions and to 
hold members accountable for serious and widespread human rights 
violations. The Attorney General recently stated that over 200 
outstanding arrest warrants issued against alleged paramilitary 
members responsible for widespread human rights violations have 
still not been acted upon by the security forces.

telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail letters:
- expressing concern for the safety of inhabitants of the municipalities 
of San Francisco, Sonson, Cocorna, Granada and La Union in the 
department of Antioquia;
- urging for full and impartial investigations into the reported killings 
civilians, that the results be made public and that those responsible 
be brought to justice;
- calling for a full and impartial investigation into links between the 
security forces and paramilitary groups operating in the area and 
urging that those found responsible for supporting and participating in 
such groups be brought to justice;
- urging that the authorities take immediate action to dismantle 
paramilitary groups, in line with stated government commitments. 

APPEALS TO:                                   (Salutations)
1.  President of Colombia                (Dear Pesident Samper)
Senor Presidente Ernesto Samper Pizano, 
Presidente de la Republica, 
Palacio de Narino, carrera 8 No. 7-26, 
Santafe de Bogota, Colombia 
[Telegrams:  President Samper Pizano, Bogota, Colombia ]
[Telexes: 44281 PALP CO]
[Faxes: 011 57 1 284 2186 / 289 3377 / 286 7434]

2.  Governor of the Department of Antioquia       (Dear Governor)
Dr. Alberto Builes Ortega,
Gobernador del Departamento de Antioquia
Gobernacion de Antioquia,
Calle 42B
#52-106,Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia
[Telegrams: Gobernador de Antioquia, Medellin, Colombia]
[Fax:  011 574 381 1342]

3.  Minister of Defence                          (Dear Minister)
Dr. Gilberto Echeverri Mejia, Ministro de Defensa Nacional
Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, Avenida Eldorado CAN - Carrera 52
Santafe de Bogota, Colombia
[Telegrams:  Ministro de Defensa, Bogota, Colombia]
[Telexes:   42411 INPRE CO / 44561 CFAC CO]
[Faxes: 011 57 1 222 1874] 

Alternative Legal Association, 
EMBRAR, AA 34692 
Santafe de Bogota, Colombia

Ambassador Juan Carlos Esguerra 
Embassy of Colombia
2118 Leroy Pl. NW
Washington DC 20008

If possible, please also write to your own political representatives 
including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
- expressing concern that some of the municipalities mentioned above are 
facing the threat of possible paramilitary incursions 
after warnings of possible attacks against the community of Simiti were 
- urging your government to take immediate action to press the Colombian 
Government to take immediate measures to 
protect the civilian community.

Please send appeals immediately. Check with the Colorado office between 
9:00 am and 6:00 pm, Mountain Time, weekdays 
only, if sending appeals after 13 August 1998. 

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