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News > Colombia

INDEPAZ Reports Murder of Two Social Activists in Colombia

  • A demonstrator demands Peace, Bogota, Colombia, 2020.

    A demonstrator demands Peace, Bogota, Colombia, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 17 October 2021

The assassinations took part in the Choco and Caqueta departments, where there is an increase in violence and displacements amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Colombia, Paramilitary violence claimed the lives of two social activists in the Choco and Caqueta departments on Saturday.


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Maria Pedroza was a social leader in the Puerto Alegre la Divisa Nauca community, located in the Choco department's Alto Baudo municipality. She died after stepping on an antipersonnel mine while she was carrying out farming work.

Likewise, Garzon Manrique, a former combatant of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP), was under a reincorporation process in Caqueta where he was killed by hired killers.

The Institute for Peace and Development  Studies (Indepaz) has reported 136 murders of social leaders so far this year. Since the signing of the Peace Agreement in 2016, the number climbed to 1,252 in the case of ex-combatants.

In Choco, the Ombudsman's Office issued a resolution warning over the high danger in the area due to the constant armed clashes resulting from the territorial dispute.

The alert referred to the increase in threats, murders, displacements, recruitments, and confinements, in all cases, against social leaders, ex-combatants, human rights defenders, among other people.

Furthermore, human rights organizations indicated an increase in territorial control by illegal armed groups due to the COVID-19 pandemic in these departments.

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