Two more social leaders killed in Colombia; 158 murdered so far this year

Bogota, September 4 (RHC)-- In Colombia, with the latest murder of two social leaders which took place over the weekend, the number of social leaders killed so far this year has reached 158.

Oliver Herrera Camacho, president of the Community Action Board of Brisas del Guayabero, and Alirio Antonio Arenas Gómez, president of the Convention Municipal Council and recognized the social leader of Ocaña, were the latest victims of an escalating campaign against rights defenders and social leaders in Colombia over the past few years. 

Over the weekend, armed men arrived at the residence of Oliver in the municipality of La Macarena and shot him dead, according to the National Confederation of Community Action.   The homicide occurred at 7:00 p.m. local time and the man lost his life at the scene.  According to Jaime Gutiérrez, human rights advisor of that community organization, the social leader had not received previous threats and was very appreciated by his community.

The Police are investigating the case to find the material and the masterminds behind the killings.

Alirio Antonio Arenas, 45, was murdered early Sunday in the Belén neighborhood by armed men, who also injured another man at the scene of the attack.  The social leader had been elected as a councilor in the municipality for the MAIS party and was also part of the Movement for the Popular Constituent MCP.   Arenas had already reported threats against him but had not been assigned a security detail.

Amid the growing murder of social leaders, the Patriotic Union Party has requested an emergency meeting with President Iván Duque to address the issue.

Edited by Ed Newman


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