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Home Facts Victims and Survivors Colombia San Jose Massacre Updates March 1 Udpate from the Colombia Support Network
March 1 Udpate from the Colombia Support Network PDF Print E-mail
Further information has reached us concerning the assassination of Luis Eduardo Guerra and 7 other persons by elements of the Colombian Army. This information is as follows:

On February 19, 2005 troops from the 11th and 17th Brigades of the Colombian Army combined were seen carrying out control operations in the settlements of Las Nieves, Muletos and La Resbalosa by residents there. Witnesses saw Army troops take away Luis Eduardo Guerra and his family and they have said that they were detained, interrogated, tortured and then murdered by beating with clubs, as shown by the marks on their bodies. The
bodies of the three had been thrown on the ground and left to the mercy of scavenging animals. The head of Luis Eduardo?s son (11 years old ) had been beaten off and was found several meters away from his body.

After Luis Eduardo, his companion, and his son had been killed, the Army unit went to the home of Alfonso Bolivar Tuberquia, where they murdered him, his wife, their 2 children and a peasant who worked with them. Their bodies were then placed in a shallow grave and were the first to be located by the
prosecutor?s office (Fiscalia).

The work of the prosecutor?s office and the coroner?s office (Medicina Legal) was done very slowly, delaying the release of the bodies to their anxious relatives and friends from the Peace Community of San Jose. On Saturday February 26 only the bodies of Alfonso Bolivar?s family were processed by these officials. Luis Eduardo?s body and that of his companion and son were not located until late Saturday afternoon and the prosecutor?s
office returned to Apartado that afternoon with only the 5 bodies from the Alfonso?s home.

Some Army soldiers told members of the San Jose Community who climbed up to the Mulatos-Resbalosa region to search for and protect the bodies until the prosecutor?s office could arrive that: ?you should be thankful that we did not kill some other people because the news of these killings spread so quickly.? They added: ?Go and retrieve the bodies quickly because those
guerillas smell very bad.?

It is clear from these statements of witnesses to the Army?s conduct that the Army carried out the massacre of Luis Eduardo and the other 7 persons. It is essential that these witnesses be protected. Their testimony disproves the allegation by Ombudsman (Defensor del Pueblo) Volmar Perez that there are several different versions of what happened and ?none has been confirmed?.

The ?Massacre at Mulatos? has led to the departure of several families from the region to San Jose de Apartado. In addition two families from the Las Nieves community are missing and unaccounted for. Whether they also have been victims of the Army?s murderous actions is still unknown.

The Colombia Support Network plans to send a fact-finding delegation to San Jose later this month to talk to persons with information about the massacre, review measures for witness protection, review information concerning who was responsible for the massacre and who carried it out, and report on official responses (including that by the U.S. Embassy) to these unspeakable crimes by Colombian Army officers and soldiers.

March 1st, 2005

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