The death of another Colombian social leader was reported overnight as local organizations denounced the continual stream of violence which has killed over 160 activists in 2017.
Mario Castaño was killed Sunday evening around 7:00 p.m. in Belen de Bajira, Choco by paramilitaries, the Peace Commission reported from its Twitter account. Authorities are currently investigating the incident.
"We deeply regret the assassination of social leader Mario Castano,” the social organization, Redprodepaz, posted. “Our solidarity hug for your family and organization. #BastaYa. Peace should not cost us our lives!"
The organization, which coordinates with a network of 30 groups to manage 27 development and peace programs, was one of the first to report Castaño's death.
"Mario Castaño — murdered today — claimed land stolen by paramilitaries, which was in the name of Sr. Teresa Gomez, sister of Carlos Castaño. Apparently, a high officer of the Seventeenth Army Brigade is linked to the threats," said journalist Oscar Andres, adding that Mario Castaño was a member of Belen’s community council and should have been protected by his role as director of the National Protection Unit of the Republic of Colombia.
Late last week, a missing Indigenous leader named Tandachiridu Inganokuna was also found dead in Belen with marks on his body consistent with torture. Police said the man was killed with a knife and the incident is under investigation.
"We categorically reject these episodes of violence that tarnish the tranquility and peace that the caquetaños are consolidating thanks to the signing between the Government and the FARC," said Alvaro Pacheco Alvarez, governor of Caqueta.
The National Organization of Indigenous Peoples of Colombian Amazon “flatly” rejected the “cruel murder” of the leader who was reported missing last Thursday.
"As the Indigenous authority of his organization, Tandachiridu Inganokuna, he held different positions at departmental level," Opiac said.
According to Opiac, 182 Indigenous and social leaders were killed in defense of their territories and in pursuit of freedom in their communities since 2016.