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Colombia: Further information on possible "Disappearance" / Fear for Safety

, رقم الوثيقة: AMR 23/091/1999

On 4 December the armed opposition group Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, (AUC), United Self-Defence Groups of Colombia, reportedly told a commission set up to investigate the abduction of Edgar Quiroga and Gildardo Fuentes that it was holding the men.

PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 23/91/99
6 December 1999
Further information on EXTRA 169/99 (AMR 23/88/99, 29 November 1999) - Possible
“disappearance”/Fear for Safety
COLOMBIA Edgar QUIROGA
Gildardo FUENTES
On 4 December the paramilitary organization Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia,
(AUC), United Self-Defence Groups of Colombia, reportedly told a commission
set up to investigate the abduction of Edgar Quiroga and Gildardo Fuentes that
it was holding the men.
The commission was set up on 30 November, two days after the men were abducted,
with representatives from Colombian non-governmental human rights
organizations, the United Nations Office of Human Rights in Bogotá, the Office
of the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, the office of the
Vice-President and other government offices. The commission sent one group
of investigators to interview witnesses in the municipality of San Pablo,
department of Bolívar, where the men were abducted, and another to the
municipality of Simití, department of Bolívar, where the AUC are thought to
have taken the two men.
The investigators who travelled to Cerro Azul found that the two men were
abducted by the AUC. According to the Commission’s report, the AUC entered
the community of Cerro Azul on 27 September and forced the people to assemble,
saying they would kill only guerrilla militia members.
The following day a further group of paramilitaries arrived in Cerro Azul.
According to the Commision’s report they claimed that they had been sent after
the AUC had asked the V Brigada, Fifth Brigade of the Colombian Army, for
reinforcements.
According to the Commission’s findings, Edgar Quiroga and Gildardo Fuentes
arrived in Cerro Azul before midday on 28 November, and were detained by the
AUC. Towards 4pm the two men, with their hands and legs bound, were kicked
and beaten with rifle butts and forced onto a white helicopter with red and
green stripes on its tail. The paramilitaries told the local inhabitants that
they were taking Edgar Quiroga to the community of San Blas, municipality of
Simití, where paramilitary chiefs wanted to talk to him. They said they were
going to kill Gildardo Fuentes immediately because he had escaped a previous
attempt to kill him in October 1999 (see original UA).
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/
airmail letters in Spanish or your own language:
- expressing concern for the safety of peasant farmer leaders Gildardo Fuentes
and Edgar Quiroga, who were abducted on 28 November 1999 in the municipality
of San Pablo and are now believed to be in the hands of AUC paramilitary forces;
- calling on the authorities to open an immediate and comprehensive
investigation into their abduction and bring to justice those responsible;
- urging that the results of the investigation be made public;
- urging that all measures are taken to guarantee their prompt and safe release;
- expressing concern for the safety of other leaders of peasant farming
communities in the department of Bolívar;
- asking the authorities to take all measures deemed appropriate by those under
threat to guarantee their safety;
- calling for a full and impartial investigation into links between the security
forces and paramilitary groups in the department of Bolívar, for the results
to be made public and for those responsible for supporting and participating
in such groups to be brought to justice;
- asking the authorities to take immediate action to dismantle paramilitary
groups, in line with stated government commitments and UN recommendations.
2
APPEALS TO:
President of Colombia:
Señor Presidente Andrés Pastrana, Presidente de la República
Palacio de Nariño, Carrera 8 No. 7-26, Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: President Pastrana, Bogotá, Colombia
Telexes: 44281 PALP CO
Faxes: