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News > Colombia

Colombia: Social Leader and His Family Murdered in Yolombo Town

  • The sign reads,

    The sign reads, "No more social leaders killed", Colombia. | Photo: Twitter/ @radio580nic

Published 19 July 2021

Four citizens were killed in the area where Gaitanist Self-Defense Forces, a far-right paramilitary gang dedicated to the cultivation and trafficking of drugs.

On Sunday, the Institute for Development and Peace Studies (INDEPAZ) reported that a Colombian social leader and three citizens were murdered in Yolombo town, Antioquia province. This is the 53rd massacre registered so far this year.


UN Rejects Persistent Attacks on Social Leaders in Colombia

The four victims were identified as the Community Action Board treasurer Luis Castrillon, his wife Maria Ramirez, their son Esneyder, and a young man with cognitive difficulties named Fray Zapata. 

Ten armed men, who allegedly belong to Colombia’s Gaitanist Self-Defense Forces, repeatedly shot at Castrillon and his family when they were visiting a commercial establishment on the La Cruz sidewalk.

Antioquia province Security Secretary Jorge Castaño rebelled that a special Army operation has been deployed in the area to find the attackers’ whereabouts and offered a US$26,000 reward for anyone who provides information that allows their capture.

Seventh Army Division Commander Juvenal Diaz explained that the Gaitanist forces, which are also known as The Gulf Clan, have been intimidating the population of Yolombo town, where the paramilitaries have areas dedicated to the drug trafficking business.

Despite the fact that the Colombian State and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a peace agreement in 2016, at least 904 social leaders and 276 former guerrilla fighters have been assassinated by paramilitary groups so far.

In the first half of 2021, human rights defenders have counted 12 more massacres than those that occurred in the same period last year, when 33 collective murders were recorded.

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