Army Carries Out Mass Detention in Colombia
News from Colombia |
on: Monday, 11 October 2010
The Colombian Army has rounded up ten people and say they intend to detain a further 70 local residents in the Cantagallo area of the central Colombian province of Bolivar. Among those detained are the President of the local community council, who was arrested on October 9th, and seven peasant farmers who were seized today in the community of Patio Bonito. The army and police have accused all those involved of being guerrilla sympathisers.
The round up began on October 9th at 5.30am when soldiers arrived in the village of Patio Bonito and seized Jorge Eliecer Torres, the president of the local community council who is well known for his involvement in human rights campaigns and a project to improve road access to the region so as to facilitate the movement of agricultural products produced by local farmers. His predecessor on the council, Ovidio Betancur, who was president until last year, was also taken as was local shopkeeper Nireida Cortez. During the detentions army officers intimidated residents and told them that they intended to take at least 80 people from the area.
Two days later the army returned to Patio Bontio and detained another seven residents all of whom, like the initial group, were taken to the town of Simiti, where they remain in custody.