Paramilitary Threats against Public Sector Workers
News from Colombia |
on: Sunday, 28 October 2007
Three active members of the public sector workers' union ASTDEMP, including the leader of the union, have received death threats on their mobile phones in recent days. The union, which says that the threats are in response to recent complaints they made about links between regional politicians and rightwing paramilitary groups, say that they fear that assassinations are imminent.
On October 26th Wilson Mantilla, the leader of the Association of Public Servants of Santander – ASTDEMP – receive a phone call at around 10.25pm during which a man said that he and some of his union colleagues would soon be killed. Shortly afterwards a message was left on Mr Mantilla's mobile phone again threatening to kill him. The following morning, at 9.12am, yet another threat came through.
The previous day two ASTDEMP activists also received threats: Silverio Angulo Vargas, a local government worker in the municipality of Penon, who received a call at 2pm, and Fanny Quieroz, a civilian police support staff worker, who received a call at 11.30pm.
In a press release the union say that the threats are coming from paramilitary groups that are angry that the union has publicly denounced corruption and ties between the paramilitaries and regional politicians. The union also notes that they have received threats in the past which have preceded assassinations of their activists.