Human Rights Defender Abducted by Paramilitaries
News from Colombia |
on: Thursday, 4 September 2008
A human rights activist working for the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission ('Comision Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz') in Colombia was yesterday abducted and threatened by a group of armed men that human rights organisations say were almost certainly Army-backed paramilitaries. Yimmi Armando Jansasoy Munoz was forced into a grey Toyota Hillux jeep with blacked out windows by four men wearing civilian clothes and dark glasses as he left a bus station after meeting with two colleagues.
The incident, at 3pm yesterday afternoon, occurred in the town of Chigorodo in the northwest region of Uraba, a stronghold of Colombia's rightwing paramilitaries. He had just finished meeting with two colleagues, Abilio Pena and Danilo Rueda, who also work for the Justice and Peace Commission.
In the jeep the men questioned Mr Jansasoy for an hour and a half about the home addresses of other human rights activists and their family members in the region. They repeatedly threatened to kill him and his family if he did not answer their questions. The men also photographed him and his ID card, all the time taking instructions from an unidentified individual at the other end of a cell phone. He was subsequently released, shaken but unharmed.
According to the Justice and Peace Commission, claims by the Colombian regime that the paramilitaries are no longer operating are untrue. The Commission says that they have simply renamed themselves the 'Black Eagles' and that they continue to function as before.