Colombian Army Commits New War Crime

“Ana María Sarrias bled for an hour and a half waiting for first aid that the army never provided, not even out of simple human decency”


With Ana María, there were 11 people murdered by the army during the Manhlon4 operation, deployed with the objective of arresting two leaders of the Frontier Commandos, a FARC dissident group dedicated to drug trafficking. What official entities report as a “successful operation”, is denounced by social organizations and human rights defenders as a massacre and a new case of “false positives”.

On Monday, March 28, the peasant and native communities living in the hamlet of Alto Remanso (Putumayo) participated in a community activity convened by the municipal council with the goal of raising funds for the construction of a mule path. Around 7 a.m., the assistants were shot at by men in black who killed 11 people, among them an indigenous governor, a pregnant woman, and a minor.

The men in black were military personnel who arrived on the spot pretending to be FARC’s guerrilla dissidents, but who later put on normal camouflage. The soldiers arrested the community in a soccer field throughout the day, until 5 p.m. During this time, the soldiers ransacked the community grocery store, stole the money collected and manipulated the bodies of the victims by placing firearms and military uniforms on them.

A verification mission on the military operation convened by human rights organizations, confirmed that the armed incursion left communal leaders and an indigenous authority assassinated, as well as injured and missing people. These facts reflect a massacre developed as part of a National Army operation, forcing the community, families, and indigenous people to move out, a violation of IHL and IHRL.

The mission also pointed out a series of “irregularities reflecting the intention to lay out the facts accommodated to the official version, in this case the bodies recovery or the delayed presence of agents from the Office of the Prosecutor, institution that started the investigation five days after the event.”

The Minister of Defense and army generals report that the operation was successful and that those assassinated were members of the FARC dissidences. Faced with questions, General Zapateiro even affirmed that “this is not the first operation in which pregnant women and child combatants have been killed”. The inhabitants of the territory reiterated that the victims were civilians, information confirmed by the Ombudsman.

Information is being clarified amid the nationwide scandal by the operation, witnesses’ testimony describes how the victims pleaded for help and agonized to death.

How did Dainara (6 years old) and Kaleth (2 years old) sleep? Who will take care of them after the assassination of their parents and their unborn brother by the army of their country?

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