By: Defensores en Linea
Translation by the Witness for Peace Nicaragua Team
For the original version in Spanish please visit Defensores en Linea
Marlen Zelaya mourns the loss of her sister of Juana Jackson, who was killed on May 11th in a drug raid backed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency along the Atlantic Coast of Honduras.
Juana Jackson (28 years old), who was 5 months pregnant, died from various gunshot wounds in the brutal attack against a “pipante” (small boat of passengers and luggage) perpetrated by U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents from a helicopter on the Patuca River in the sector of Paptalaya.
Her sister, Marlen Zelaya, relates that Juana had gone to the community of Patuca to pick up some things that had been sent to her from Roatan, so she [Marlen] was at home taking care of her sister’s sons (1 year old and 9 year old) in the neighborhood of El Naranjal.
Zelaya stated that she had been washing clothes very early in the morning, when she received a call on her cell phone from an aunt who asked if her sister had arrived home.
” ‘No,’ I told her, ‘Why?’ My aunt said, ’Look, don’t you realize that those helicopters killed her and many other people that were in the pitpante?’ “I dropped what I was doing immediately and ran to the clinic of the Morava Evangelical Hospital. I found the hospital’s driver and I asked him, but he told me that my sister had not arrived,” she said sobbing.
She added that later she went to the landín (a small dock located several kilometers from her house) and heard that her sister had traveled in the pipante alongside Emerson Martinez, who died from the impact of several bullets.
Upon verifying with other survivors of the fatal attack that Juana had been traveling [on the boat], Marlen expressed that she was left in shock for several minutes because a few days earlier she had lost her mother and now her sister was dead and missing.
“I feel so much pain because of all of this. They killed my sister with four bullets: one in her chest, another in her leg, the other in her head and another in her nose. They killed her as if she were a dog,” she noted sorrowfully.
Juana Jackson’s sister was not able to locate her body until Saturday, after a frantic search to find her body in the area of the brutal attack.
“When I found her, I brought her home to change her [clothes]. I put her in a coffin and buried her in the cemetery because I couldn’t keep her in the house longer since she was already decomposing,” Marlen Zelaya said crying.
Marlen noted that Juana was a Christian woman who belonged to the Moravian Evangelical Church, but there wasn’t time to hold a wake in the chapel.
“Now that I don’t have a mother or father, I have to raise my sister’s children, because I can’t leave them in the street. I have to take care of them and educate them, which I am going to do. God will support me,” Zelaya assured.
Marlen works as a nurse in the Moravian Evangelical Hospital of the municipality of Ahuas, a social project that provides medical attention at a low cost to low income individuals. She has 4 children and lives in the El Naranjal sector of Ahuas. “I feel a deep pain, because with this death I have three family members who have died. First my mother, then my aunt who died two weeks ago and now my sister, so I don’t know how much pain I feel. Only God can help me with all of this because I am alone and I am a single mother,” concluded Marlen Zelaya, another family member of the victims killed in the atrocious attack carried out by DEA agents in Ahuas, in La Mosquitia, Honduras.