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Colombian Army Involved in Extrajudicial Killing in Catatumbo

Updated: Apr 25, 2019

Dimar Torres | source: @BenedictoFARC

Residents of the Carrizal village in the municipality Convention, Norte de Santander denounce the assassination of a demobilized FARC combatant attempting to fulfill his reintegration process, Dimar Torres who was extrajudicially executed at the hands of members of the Colombian Army on April 22nd, a situation that is under investigation but reflects the high levels of militarization in Catatumbo.

According to Juan Carlos Quintero, director of the Peasant Association of Catatumbo (ASCAMCAT), at around 5:00 pm villagers heard several gunshots, after realizing the absence of the a fellow farmer, the community headed to the nearby military base, where they ask members of the Colombian Army about the whereabouts of Dimar Torres.

As they entered the military facilities they witnessed:

"the opening of a mass grave where members of the Armed Forces were preparing to hide the body of Dimar"

Later, the community surrounded the base preventing the security forces from moving the body.

Members of the community proceeded to contact various human rights organizations who negotiated with the Colombian military forces and agreed that a delegation from the Prosecutor’s office and the UN mission office should arrive at the site to carry out the investigation of what happened, which is still ongoing.

"it is a disproportionate level of militarization that has proven not to guarantee the lives of the communities, or of the social leaders, or of the ex-combatants in the process of reincorporation", affirms the leader of ASCAMCAT.

"These are practices that we thought were gone but some members of the security forces are not guaranteeing their duty to protect life," says the leaders who questions the high presence of members of the Colombian Army in the area and despite this, killings continue against social leaders as well as "massacres in urban areas in broad daylight” referring to the slaughter of El Tarra in August 2018.

According to Andres Stapper, director of the National Agency for Reincorporation, at least 128 ex-combatants have been extrajudicially killed since the signing of the 2016 peace accords between FARC and the Colombian government. 

This would not be the first time members of the Colombian Army are involved in extrajudicial executions. Just last year, eight members of the military were captured for their involvement in the assassination of Ciro Alfonso Manzano Ariza in Northeastern Colombia.

Dimar Torres, was born November 15th 1979, he had dreams of restarting his life after the 2016 peace accords. He wished to work the land with his family and wife, who was two weeks pregnant at the time of his murder. Dimar was in the process of reintegrating into civilian life and according to ASCAMCAT was an active leaders and a member of the Community Action Committee of ​​Campo Alegre.

The United States has given Colombia over 1.1 billion dollars in aid since 2016, much of which goes into arming and training the Colombian military.


This article is based on the original reporting of Contagio Radio


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