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Cano Manso leaders received gunshot wounds during an operation in Belén de Bajirá

Reminder: Afro-Colombian communities of the Curvarado and Jiguamiando underwent a forced displacement in 1997during a joint operation by the national army and paramilitary forces. The return of the communities to their land, now covered in African Palm tree plantations, is currently taking place under the menace of the paramilitary and the inaction of government authorities.

Summary of recent events: MIGUEL HOYOS and UALBERTO HOYOS, community leaders of Caño Manso and Curvarado, were victims of a “paramilitary-like” attack, which occurred last night in the town of Belén de Bajirá. These men are witnesses in the judicial process for the murder of ORLANDO VALENCIA and the robbing of land in that region. Just five minutes before the assault, local police units were doing a control round in the house across the street, the one of Enrique Petro, who needs to rely on a permanent police perimeter, du to the menaces the he and his family received from the paramilitary group “Águilas Negras”. MIGUEL and UALBERTO were immediately transferred to the Apartado municipality hospital. Last august they lead an operation allowing the return of 80 families to the village of Caño Manso, which after the forced displacement of 1997 had been converted by the beneficiaries of the paramilitaries in “Villa Alejandra I” and “Villa Alejandra II”. Through ASOPROBEBA, its inhabitants have received benefits from Action sociale and international humanitarian organisations. ASOPROBEBA.was initiated by Sister TERESA GOMEZ who according to Press information, participated in the crime of YOLANDA IZQUIERDO.

URGENT DEMANDS To the Vice President of the Republic, The Minister of the Interior and the Fiscal General of the Nation: * Effective, transparent and structural action on the paramilitary structures that operate in Nuevo Oriente, Mutatá, Pavarandocito, Belén de Bajirá, Riosucio and Caño Manso, places that military intelligence and police know about and where the murder attempts were planned and ordered. These places are the location of judicial operations for the development of an entire judicial strategy that permits the legalization of the violent usurpation of the territories, the implementation of agribusiness such as palm oil plantations, expanding livestock and processing coca for illicit use. * Implement in a timely manner the means and mechanisms required for the protection of witnesses, in the name of the Provisional Measures adopted by the Inter American Court of Human Rights, which involves MIGUEL HOYOS, SERAFIN OROZCO, EUGENIO NUÑEZ, ENRIQUE PETRO, and UALBERTO HOYOS. * Create a group of prosecutors to pursue legal action, critically and with due process, that would take charge of all investigations against the leaders of the communities of Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó falsely accused of being responsible of the crimes of assassination, forced disappearances and displacement. * Acceleration of investigative actions under Process 3856 headed by the Human Rights Unit in regards to corporate and paramilitary responsibility in the Commission of Crimes Against Humanity, the illegal appropriation of lands and environmental damage.