COLOMBIA: Two miners assassinated; organizations condemn murders

CPTnet
17 February 2010
COLOMBIA: Two miners assassinated; organizations condemn murders

 

On 10 February 2010, paramilitaries assassinated two miners from The Southern Bolivar Agricultural – Mining Federation (FEDEAGROMISBOL).  The Federation is a coalition of peasant farming and mining communities in Southern Bolivar province.  CPT Colombia has accompanied FEDEAGROMISBOL since the assassination of Alejandro Uribe Chacón in 2006.  These communities continue to struggle nonviolently for their rights to their land and to their dignity. 

A collection of civil society groups and non-governmental organizations put out the following statement regarding the murders:

Saturday, 13 February 2010

1.  10 February 2010 around 7 am, Omar Alonso Ospina Restrepo and Jose De Jesus Restrepo left the Municipality of Montecristo for Caucasia, Antioquia in order to buy some parts for their car.  The brothers, Omar Alonso and Jose de Jesus, ages 26 and 40 respectively, were artisan miners and members of FEDEAGROMISBOL.  Omar Alonso was the President of El Dorado’s Community action board and the fiscal watchdog for El Dorado’s agricultural-mining association.  They arrived in Nechi at about 10:00 on the same day and continued their trip to Caucasia.

2.  According to reports from the local population, the brothers were approached by an armed group about twenty minutes from the township of Nechi and taken to an unknown destination.  Some versions identified members of paramilitary forces that are operating in the region as responsible.

3.  Dorado’s residents went to the town of Nechi in order to investigate the whereabouts and fate of the Restrepo brothers.  The police informed the residents that they knew of the presence of two bodies at a place called Parcela de Londres, but that the area was too extensive to locate them. 

4.  Yesterday night, 12 February, the dead body of Omar Alonsa Restrepo Ospina was found in the Cauca River close to the town of Achi and today [13 February] in the morning, the dead body of Jose De Jesus Restrepo Restrepo in the Cauca River by the municipality of Guaranda.  Both bodies were found with visible signs of torture.

5.  These killings are part of a long chain of aggression against the people of southern Bolivar, much like the murder of Alejandro Uribe Chacón on 19 September 2006 and many others.  In the present context, these acts present what we consider a comprehensive strategy to plunder the territory by a macabre alliance between the national government and multinationals, such as gold company Anglo Gold Ashanti and oil palm company Daabon who are attempting to seize the natural resources in Southern Bolivar province.

6.  We hold the Colombian State responsible for these events in that they have refused to continue dialogue with communities in the south of Bolivar in the La Mesa de Interlocucion and/or Southern Bolivar Roundtable for Dialogue and to the contrary they have continued militarizing the region and openly allowing paramilitary groups to function.

We firmly reject these murders and all actions aimed at depriving the people of Southern Bolivar of its territory.

We call on our sister organizations to speak out to the authorities and demand strong action to investigate the murders and the immediate end of attacks against the population of the region.

We call on The State agencies to exercise the necessary mechanisms for these crimes to be investigated and those responsible punished.

FEDERACION AGROMINERA DEL SUR DE BOLIVAR    
CORPORACION SEMBRAR
REDHER – COLOMBIA
COORDINADOR NACIONAL AGRARIO-CNA
ORGANIZACIÓN INDIGENA DE COLOMBIA - ONIC
CORPORACION AURY SARA MARRUGO
INSTITUTO NACIONAL SINDICAL – INS
NOMADESC
CAMPAÑA PROHIBIDO OLVIDAR
RECALCA
COMISION INTERCLESIAL DE JUSTICIA Y PAZ
AIDA
RED ANTORCHA
CENSAT- AGUA VIVA
ASOCIACION MINGA
CORPORACION COLECTIVO DE ABOGADOS LUIS CARLOS PEREZ
OBSERVATORIO DE TRANSNACIONALES
ECOTIERRA
CONCIENCIA CAMPESINA
OBSERVATORIO SOCIAL Y AMBIENTAL