On March 22, Bernardo Rios of San José de Apartadó peace community in the Colombian region of Uraba was gunned down by a group of men known locally as paramilitaries, less than a mile from a military checkpoint. In an April 4 press release, the peace community accused the government of turning a blind eye to the ongoing violence. “They try to end us in different ways, today they want to displace us, but our stubbornness for life will not let us give it up,” declared the community. The statement said local police forces did nothing as paramilitaries continued to threaten them, accusing them of supporting guerrillas and telling them that they will pay dearly if they do not leave the area. Since the peace community was founded in 1997, some 195 members have been killed, yet only a handful of low-ranking army officers and paramilitary fighters have been convicted. (Fellowship of Reconciliation, Colombia Reports, April 4)
See our last post on paramilitary terror in Colombia.