On Jan. 5 at approximately 4 PM armed “civilians” identified as members of the paramilitary “Autodefensas del Llano” entered the villages of Puerto Toledo and Matabambú, Meta department, and asesinated the campesinos Jairo Carabali, Alcibiades Pachon and Arelis Diaz.
On Feb. 22, 2005 Jairo had been detained for two days by the army, and had been frequently harassed by Batallion No. 42 of the army’s Mobile Brigade No. 4. Diaz, a mother of five, was a resident of Matabambú, where several campesinos were wounded in an attack by regular army troops minutes before the paras entered the village. Residents appealed to Lt. Garcia, commander of Mobile Brigade No. 4’s Counterguerilla Batallion No. 42 to guarantee their safety. Lt. Garcia’s forces allegedly threw up roadblock to prevent residents from leaving Puerto Toledo after the para attack. The residents, unable to flee, have gathered in the village’s community center. The paramilitary troops are believed to still be in the vicinity of the village.
The army has also temporarily detained and harassed numerous residents of nearby Santo Domingo in operations under the anti-guerilla Patriot Plan which has been underway for the past several months in the plains and jungles of eastern Colombia. (Red de Defensores No Institucionalizados, Jan. 5)
See our last post on Colombia.