PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 23/45/98
UA 182/98 19 June 1998
Fear for safety/ "Disappearance"/ Extrajudicial execution
COLOMBIACivilian population of the municipality of Murindó, Antioquia Department,
Residents of the El Bartolo hamlet: "Disappeared": María Esperanza Ayala, Wilson Golzález,
Gabriel Marriaga, Luis Mendoza, Juan Regyes, José González, Ever González. Killed: Aurelio
Borja, Remberto Tovar, Yomar Morelo, Walter Mendoza.
Residents of Indígenous Embera community of Gauguas: "Disappeared": Casilda Sapia, Fidel
Pernía, Alirio Sapia, Jesús Majoré, Albeiro Jumí, Atencio Sinigüí, Trina Carupia, Francia
Carupia, Celia Pipicay, Reiniero Sapia
Residents of Indigenous Embera community of La Isla: "Disappeared": Gloria Domicó, Carlos
Domicó, Olga Domicó, Emiro Domicó, Evelio Baikarín, Belarmina Bailarín, Lina Domicó,
Emilio Bailarín, Gilma Domicó. Killed: Otoniel Bailarín
There is serious concern for the safety of the civilian population in the municipality
of Murindó, Antioquia Department, particularly the 26 "disappeared" named above who have
not been seen since paramilitary forces attacked their communities at the end of May
1998. The whereabouts of all the "disappeared" remain unknown. According to reports,
paramilitary forces were also responsible for killing the five people named above.
On 28 May 1998 a paramilitary force attacked the black community of El Bartolo in Murindó
municipality in the northwestern region of Urabá, reportedly killing four residents.
The seven others named above have not been seen since the paramilitary incursion. This
attack was followed by eight days of intense fighting between paramilitary and guerrilla
forces in the area, forcing much of the local population to flee and seek safety in the
village of La Isla.
The fighting also forced 200 residents of the Embera indigenous community of the hamlet
of Guaguas to flee their homes and seek refuge in La Isla. In light of the paramilitary
operations in the area and the attack on El Bartolo, there is grave concern for the 10
members of the community named above whose whereabouts have remained unknown since the
they were forced to flee their homes. It is not clear if they were abducted by paramilitary
forces or if they fled into the forest to seek refuge.
The governor of La Isla, another Embera indigenous community, has reported that at least
300 people have sought refuge there. On 28 May Otoniel Bailarín, a resident of La Isla,
was reportedly killed by paramilitary forces when he passed through El Bartolo on his
way to Murindó. An independent commission made up of state officials and representatives
of human rights and indigenous non-governmental organizations, which travelled to the
area to confirm details of the situation, has also confirmed that the nine members of
La Isla community named above are still missing and are presumed "disappeared".
Peasant communities, including black and indigenous communities, in disputed zones in
Colombia’s long running civil conflict have frequently suffered attacks. Neither the
left wing armed opposition groups nor the armed forces and their paramilitary allies
recognize the civilian population's neutrality in the conflict.
Members of the Colombian army and security forces and their paramilitary allies continue
to commit serious human rights violations with virtual impunity. Over the past five years
several thousand civilians have been killed by paramilitary groups throughout the country.
The Colombian Government suspended the constitutional legal base for the formation of
paramilitary organizations and issued directives to the armed forces to combat and disband