from Weekly News Update on the Americas
On Jan. 5, paramilitaries who identified themselves as members of the “Autodefensas del Llano” (Plains Self-Defense) group murdered four people in the community of Matabambu, in Puerto Lleras municipality, in the southern Colombian department of Meta. The victims were campesinos Arelis Diaz, Alcibiades Pachon, Luis Guillermo Gonzales and Rafael Quinto Orjuela Diaz. The paramilitaries also forcibly disappeared four siblings–Rafael, Amir, Yurley and Esteban Rodriguez–from the La Laguna farm owned by Rafael Rodriguez in Matabambu. The two youngest siblings are minors: Yurley is 17 and Esteban is 13. Among the paramilitaries were two men recognized as active duty soldiers from the army’s Counter-Guerrilla Battalion No. 42.
The massacre culminated a week of attacks on area residents by military and paramilitary forces. On Dec. 31, troops from the “Motilones” Counter-Guerrilla Battalion No. 17 of the Mobile Brigade No. 2, headed by Lt. Avila, arbitrarily detained Norberto Lujan in the community of El Vergel, village of Santo Domingo in Vistahermosa municipality, Meta department. On Jan. 3, soldiers arbitrarily detained eight campesinos in the village of Santo Domingo, accusing them of being guerrilla sympathizers. On Jan. 4, paramilitaries who identified themselves as members of “Autodefensas del Llano” forcibly disappeared Ecelino Pineda Pena, a campesino from the community of Santa Lucia. Pineda was on a bus headed from Granada to Puerto Toledo when the paramilitaries abducted him at a roadblock. On Jan. 6, in Villa La Paz, Puerto Lleras municipality, paramilitaries detained and disappeared campesino Gildardo de Jesus Salinas Piedrahita. Pineda, Lujan and Salinas all remained missing as of Jan. 18.
Another area resident, Rosabel Rincon, was forcibly disappeared by the paramilitaries at a roadblock in an area known as Cano Blanco. She also remained missing as of Jan. 18. Rincon was abducted while returning from Vista Hermosa, where she had gone on Jan. 4 to try to get information about her daughter, Marilyn Martinez Rincon, one of the eight people detained on Jan. 3 in Santo Domingo. The eight were all supposedly released on Jan. 5 in Vista Hermosa, although only one of them managed to return home. As of Jan. 18, the whereabouts of the others were still unknown.
A number of residents were apparently wounded during the paramilitary attack in Matabambu. While paramilitaries were still in the area, members of the Human Rights Comission of the Guejear River Region in Puerto Toledo went to see Lt. Garcia, in charge of the Counter-Guerrilla Battalion No. 42 of the army’s Mobile Brigade No. 4, to ask him to provide security for the community; Garcia responded that he had not committed himself to providing security. Soldiers under his command told Commission members that the same thing that happened in Matabambu would soon happen in Puerto Toledo. Lt. Garcia then blocked residents of Puerto Toledo from fleeing the town. (Communiques from Comision Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz, Jan. 4, 5 via Red de Defensores No Institucionalizados)
Weekly News Update on the Americas, Jan. 22
Weekly News Update on the Americas
See also WW4 REPORT #117
See our last update on state terror in Colombia:
Reprinted by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, Feb. 1, 2006
Reprinting permissible with attribution