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Recent Massacre at the San Juan River Sends Refugees Fleeing their Homes
Four Afro-Colombian peasants from the village La Playita, located in San Juan River, Choco, were disappeared and found later killed on June 11th. This recent massacre has generated the internal displacement of 94 peasants, including 25 children to the municipality of Docordo, the area’s territorial administrative entity.
On Wednesday, June 11th Juan Paulino, Moreno, Lizardo Acevedo, Tirso Vallecilla y Luciano Moreno left to work on their farms. When the four peasants didn’t return to the village in the afternoon, members of the community started a search that ended when their bodies were found buried in a common grave.
According to an article published in newspaper El Tiempo, the ombudsman of Docordo, Liborio Rosero stated that the peasants start fleeing immediately after the four Afro-Colombians were founded dead. The ombudsman also informed that 9 other people were assassinated and founded buried in a common grave in the municipality of Orpua (San Juan River area) in April this year.
Last month on May 22nd, the ex-governor of the Cabildo Mayor the Puerto Pizario (same area), Ovidio Malaga, along with Afro-Colombian Dagoberto Moreno were abducted by an unidentified armed group. They were later found dead having been assassinated. Four other Afro-Colombian peasants who had disappeared the same day were found drowned days later.
In the littoral of the San Juan River, operate the so called “Aguilas Negras” who have moved their illicit crops to the south of Choco and the 57 front of FARC. Located a few miles away, in Bahia Malaga, is one of the largest and best equipped Naval bases, which is in charge of patroling and protecting the area. La Playita is located one hour away by fast boat from the municipality of Buenaventura.
As the Uribe government continued distracting the public with “positive results” of his “Democratic Security” policy, Afro-Colombian communities continued to be exposed to the violence of re-established paramilitaries and guerrillas. In the first half of 2008 alone, twenty-four Afro-Colombian peasants and leaders have been reported assassinated by armed groups, and three internal displacements have been reported.
Take Action: Raise your concern to the US Department of State. Call Jennie Muñoz at 202) 647-8307 and express your concern for the safety of the Communities in the San Juan River and the situation of the displaced 94 Afro-Colombians. Ask Jennie to contact the Colombia Embassy and urge them to take immediate measurements to effectively protect the remaining members of the community, and to bring proper attention to the displaced. Contact Colombian Ambassador in the US, Carolina Barco at (202) 387-8338, email emwas@colombiaemb. org, fax (202) 232-8633, and urge for immediate protection to the members of the community la Playita that remain in it, and ask for immediate assistance to the displaced ones. Express your concern for the safety of the Afro-Colombian peasants and leaders.
Please rise this case in any space possible.
Read the article in El Tiempo http://www.eltiempo .com/colombia/ otraszonas/ home/desplazadas -94-personas- en-choco- por-masacre- de-cuatro- campesinos- que-estaban- desaparecidos_ 4344544-1