Colombian trade unionist and political organiser murdered in Cauca

Justice For Colombia News | on: Thursday, 16 November 2017

On the morning of 8 November, a group of armed men dressed in military fatigues approached the home of rural farmer Alber Matinéz Olarte, who was going about his daily tasks with members of his family at their home in Cajibio, department of Cauca.

The men ordered Alber to accompany them to discuss some pressing matters and took him to the vicinity of a bridge crossing the River Cauca. He was shot several times before his lifeless body was thrown into the river. It was found a few days later by a local fisherman.

Members of the community subsequently received threats by the perpetrators threatening to kill anyone who reported the murder.

Alber was a regional political activist and human rights defender. He also belonged to the FENSUAGRO agricultural trade union, the National Coordinating Committee for Coca, Marijuana and Poppy Growers(COCCAM) and political organisation the Patriotic March. He had participated in the recent national strike by agricultural, indigenous and other social groups.

More than 130 political activists have been killed in Colombia so far in 2017. This is despite security guarantees promised by the government under the terms of the 2016 peace agreement. Cauca is one of the regions worst affected by violence.

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