The Daily Journal of Conflict and Peace, 14 April 2014

Armed skirmishes between the FARC and government forces in the department of Cauca led to further forced displacement of civilians, exacerbating what has already become a social emergency. (see here for more on Forced displacement continues in Cauca).

ELN guerrillas tried to sabotage petroleum infrastructure owned by Ecopetrol in the North of Santander. (see here for more on ELN).

President Juan Manuel Santos is expected to publically apologize to unions accused of having links to guerilla organizations by José Obdulio Gaviria. (see here for more on Justice).

Violence associated with the Armed Conflict Neoparamilitaries Our services ELN
Forced displacement continues in Cauca Guerilla violence Justice
Peace negotiations Other violence FARC
Violence associated with the Armed Conflict

Unidentified gunmen entered Pueblito Mejía, a small town in the municipality of Barranco de Loba (Bolívar). After threatening various residents, they proceeded to loot money and gold from a local mining installation. No victims were reported.

A soldier in this same municipality, Héctor Luis Rodríguez Lozada, was wounded after accidentally entering a minefield near the Caño Limón Coveñas oil pipeline.

FARC

In the municipality of San Calixto (North of Santander), FARC guerrillas harassed a police station with gunfire and light explosives. One civilian, Lidis Belén Sanguino, was injured by shrapnel from the explosives.

In the municipality of Anorí (Antioquia), on the other hand, peasant-farmer Julio Martínez Gómez was injured after stepping on a mine laid near a schoolhouse by the FARC.

FARC guerrillas in the municipality of El Charco (Nariño) placed explosives in dumpsters designed to go off when handled by sanitation workers. Four men were injured, of whom three were identified – Ángel Betancurt, Aleider Bravo and Pedro Colorado.

Meanwhile, in the municipality of Tumaco (Nariño), a firefight between government forces and a member of the FARC identified as José Luis Sánchez, or ‘El Zorro’, ended in the latter’s death.

Finally, four men were taken and executed from a cab in San José del Guaviare (Guaviare) that was subsequently burned. The driver of the taxi was identified as Norberto Ramírez. Authorities are still investigating which armed group is responsible for the crime.

Forced displacement continues in Cauca

The office of the Defense of Public Affairs issued a notice that inhabitants of and this municipality were under threat of imminent displacement due to continued clashes between the FARC and government forces.

Towns effected include Juanico, El Partidero and La Pampa, in addition to the community councils of  Bajo Güapi, San José and those along the Guajuí river. Throughout the night of Friday 11 April, 132 families were displaced before making their way toward the municipal seat of Güapi.

According to the Defense, a total of 208 families have been displaced so far, for a total of 756 people. An additional 300 families from the community council of Limones and a further 700 families from the communities of San Joaquín, Casas Viejas and Taparal in the municipality of López de Micay remain at risk of forced displacement due to combat hostilities.

ELN

In the municipality of Teorama (North of Santander), ELN guerillas set fire to one vehicle and two backhoes belonging to Ecopetrol, each of which crucial to making repairs to previously damaged oil infrastructure in the area. No victims were reported.

Guerilla violence

In the municipality of El Cairo (Cauca), unidentified guerrillas carried out road-blocks for several hours in rural parts of the municipality. No victims were reported.

On the other hand, the army deactivated an explosive that unidentified guerrillas had planted on the road between Saravena and Cubará in the municipality of Saravena (Arauca).

Finally, in the municipality of Arauca (Arauca), unidentified guerrillas in the town of Puente Lipa harassed an army convoy with gunfire and explosives. An unidentified soldier died in the event.

Neoparamilitaries

Seven members of the neoparamilitary group Los Urabeños were killed in clashes with the army in the municipality of Zaragoza (Antioquia). Only one of them has been identified, Jesús Mena Longa, the regional leader of the group and known under the aliases of “Braket” and “Jorge”.

On the other hand, combat between the National Police and Los Urabeños broke out in the municipality of María La Baja (Sucre). The police seized a number of weapons in addition to capturing one member of the neoparamilitary group.

Press reports also spoke of a supposed truce between Los Urabeños and the Oficina de Envigado, a criminal gang in Medellín. According to reports, the truce not only entails handing over certain members of each group to justice, but also enacting a ceasefire of sorts in the Valle de Aburrá region to go into effect immediately.

Other violence

In the city of Cali (Valle del Cauca), unknown assailants threatened the Vicentinas Brothers with pamphlets. The latter are known for their efforts to rehabilitate adolescents suffering from drug abuse.

Ten unidentified people were injured in a nightclub in the municipality of Candelaria (Valle del Cauca) after a man tinkered with a grenade.

Justice

The 29th circuit judge of Bogotá, DC ordered President Santos and Vice-President Angelino Garzón to publicly apologize to three unions in the city of Cali: the Municipal Companies Union of Cali (Sintraemcali), the Colombian University Workers Union (Sintraunicol) and the Telecoms Workers Union (Sintratelefonos). Each of the latter had been accused by former presidential advisor to Alvaro Uribe, José Obdulio Gaviria, and former Vice-President under Uribe, Francisco Santos, of having ties to guerrilla groups on 25 July 2007.

José Obdulio Gaviria had already publicly apologized to said unions at Bogotá’s district attorney’s office on 10 April.

On the other hand, a Special Circuit Criminal Judge in the city of Santa Marta (Magdalena) sentenced four members of the Army to 40 years each in prison for the forced displacement and murder of nine civilians under special protection. The Army stood by in 2006 when members of Northern Block of United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) invaded the La Reserva estate and kidnapped nine civilians, including one minor.

After killing four of the aforementioned nine, the AUC handed over the other four to the Army, who in turn killed four and presented them as guerrillas killed in battle with the Army in the municipality of Aracataca, in the banana-growing region of the country (Magdalena). The fifth was disappeared and has yet to resurface.

Those condemned in the trial were first sergeant Harold Cuarán, and corporals Ernesto Murillo Fontalvo, Carlos Díaz Valdés and Giovani Quintero.

Keeping apace with the Peace Negotiations

No breaking news related to the peace negotiations in Havana emerged this weekend.

 

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