Source: REMAP / The Dawn News / October 5, 2017
On Thursday, October 5, communities of the Colombian veredas of El Tandil, Brisas, Puerto Rico and El Divorcio of the Tumaco municipality, Nariño region, were brutally repressed by the army and the police, who shot at the peasant population as they were peacefully demonstrating.
Around a thousand peasants were making a human chain to prevent the operative by which the Anti-narcotics police is destroying illicit crops. This operative violates item 4 of the Havana Peace Agreement signed between the Colombian government and the FARC, which establishes mechanisms for the voluntary substitution of such crops.
According to numbers provided by Marcha Patriótica [Patriotic March] and the National Coordination of Coca, Poppy and Marijuana farmers (COCCAM), it was a “massacre” committed by the state. The actions of the public force left 8 peasants dead and 52 wounded. However, the numbers could be higher, since some people who were wounded seeked refuge and healthcare on the other side of the border, in the neighboring country of Ecuador.
Immediately after the facts, the Alternative Revolutionary Force of the Common (FARC, the new political organization created by the former members of the guerrilla) emitted a statement: “We urgently need government presence. There’s a humanitarian crisis, mass displacements. 8 dead, 20 wounded. There’s uncertainty in the Alternative Revolutionary Force of the Common (FARC) regarding the wellbeing of family-members and wounded peers. We request reports on the number of deceased and wounded people who were transported by helicopter”.
FARC doctors attended the victims, while no state representative went to the place to provide assistance.
The locals also detailed they had been shot at with rifles and M-60 machine guns, and denounced that the public force is disseminating false information by affirming the shots were the result of a confrontation with a dissident guerrilla group.
The Army and the Police “try to make believe that the motive for their aggression was an alleged explosion of five cylinder bombs, of which there is no evidence whatsoever. Besides, none of the agents have suffered any harm whatsoever—neither from shards nor from shots rifles and machine guns that allegedly were fired against them”, expressed the Association of Communal Action Boards of Mira, Nulpe and Mataje (Asominuma).
The images of the massacre are devastating and call for a response from the Colombian people and the international community, according to several human rights organizations, who are also demanding the state to form a commission of verification in the area and assume responsibility for the incidents.
Police shoot into the air to intimidate commission verifying the Tumaco massacre
Source: Semana 35 / October 8, 2017
On the same day when the Ombudsman Office emitted a communiqué regarding the massacre of Tumaco peasants by Anti-narcotics Police, another serious incident occurred involving the same government organism
Around 2 pm last Sunday, police shot stunning bullets and fired into the air while a commission was doing verification work near the location where the massacre occurred, specifically in the Tandil vereda, located in Tumaco, Nariño.
The verification commission included personnel from the UN, OAS, the government of Nariño, the Indigenous Guard and journalists, who were authorized to be on the location and were properly identified with vests and badges.
The anti-narcotics police were stationed on the top of a hill. As a group of around 15 people from the verification commission approached them, the police began shouting warnings like “go away” and “you can’t be here”.
Officials of the Nariño government identified themselves and told the police they couldn’t shoot. But the response was tear gas, stunning shots and shortly after rounds fired into the air.
Members of the commission began to retreat. The video shows them going away, some of them instructing others to “stay calm” and reassuring them: “easy, easy”.
This incident is serious because Anti-narcotics is interfering with the investigation of a case where they are involved.
The Police informed that four officers who “allegedly used their firearms” against the peasants during the massacre have been suspended.