Colombia: Katío Embera leader killed

Two men armed with pistols shot Colombian indigenous leader Héctor Betancur Domicó dead the night of July 6 as he was leaving the offices of an indigenous organization in Tierralta in the northwestern department of Córdoba. Betancur Domicó was the leader of the Katío Embera community of Changarra, one of 17 small communities in the region, which has a total population of about 5,000 Katío Embera. The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) reported that more than 1,254 indigenous people have been killed by armed groups in Colombia since January 2002. (La Raza, Chicago, July 11 from AP)

The Bogotá daily El Tiempo reported on July 7 that prosecutors were investigating 1,603 military personnel, mostly from the 5th Division, in connection with 812 extrajudicial executions carried out during the last six years. The victims included “false positives“—civilians executed by the army and then presented as rebels killed in combat. Many were trade union activists or community leaders; others were victims of “social cleansing,” the rounding up and killing of homeless people and other social outcasts. The Colombian military receives some $500 million a year in US assistance. (Latin American Herald Tribune, July 7 from EFE)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 13

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