Colombian Campesino Leader Murdered, Paramilitaries Implicated


A social leader in Colombia was murdered in the department of Nariño and according to witnesses, it was the work of paramilitary forces who wanted to intimidate the community.

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Nidio Davila was killed Sunday night in the village of Piedra Grande in the southwestern area of El Rosario, Nariño, on the border with Ecuador. Davila belonged to the Association of Campesino Workers of Nariño, part of the National Federation of Agricultural Workers.

"Paramilitaries assassinated Nidio Davila in Nariño, we had informed the government three times about his risk. They did nothing." Marcha Patriotica leader David Florez posted on Twitter.

According to witnesses a group of 20 armed men, who they say belonged to the Gaitan Self-defenses of Colombia, arrived at Davila’s house and asked him to pay a tax. The victim refused and was forcibly removed.

Relatives and friends of Davila said the men threatened to kill anyone that supported a crop substitution program, included in the peace agreement signed between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the government, to eradicate illegal crops in the country.

Witnesses say the men threatened to kill anyone who comes to speak of substitution and all the campesinos who agree with that substitution," according to testimony collected by the Colombian Human Rights Network for a legal complaint.

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Davila was kidnapped and later transferred to the neighboring town of El Cable, where he was killed in front of the community in the area, then they threw the body into the Verde river, says the complaint.

The campesino leader was also part of the National Coordinator of Cultivators of Coca, Poppy and Marijuana, Coccam, and the political and social movement Marcha Patriotica in Nariño.

Some 74 social leaders and campesinos have already been murdered throughout the country in 2017, according to Cristian Delgado, national coordinator of the Human Rights Commission of Marcha Patriotica.

Meanwhile, Maria Bernarda Puentes a prosecutor who ordered the arrest of community leaders promoting restitution of land is under house arrest, accused of working with paramilitaries and drug dealers according to an investigation.


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