The day after the announcement by the Colombian army of an operation on the border with Peru which would have killed eleven guerrillas, Oscar Daza, the spokesperson for the National Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon (Opiac) said at a press conference on Wednesday March 30 that “those killed by the army were not guerrillas, but civilians, including native comrades”.
According to Opiac, among the eleven victims presented by the army as being dissident ex-FARC rebels who rejected the 2016 peace agreement include a local indigenous governor, a community leader and his wife. The organization does not provide details of the other eight people allegedly killed in the fighting.
Human Rights Watch has also confirmed that “during the army operation, the indigenous governor, the community leader and his wife were killed”. “There is an urgent need to clarify the facts”said Juan Pappier, the NGO’s principal researcher for the Americas.
The Office of the Mediator (Ombudsman) received the complaint made by Opiac, which recalls that“a 16-year-old boy” is among the victims and also called on the authorities to “clarify quickly” facts.
On Tuesday, General Alberto Rodriguez explained that the eleven people killed in Puerto Leguizamo, in the department of Putumayo (south), belonged to the Segunda Marquetalia, one of the two major factions of the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Marxists) .
“The operation was not against peasants, but against FARC dissidents. It was not against innocent natives, but against drug traffickers”certified Wednesday on Twitter the Minister of Defense, Diego Molano.
Without mentioning fights, the prosecutor’s office announced on Twitter an investigation into “the events of Puerto Leguizamo where 11 people died”.