BOGOTA – At least six people have been murdered at a rural area in Cauca Department’s El Tambo, in what has been a string of such killings in southwestern Colombia over the past week, officials said.
“Six were killed by unknown people today in (the village of) Uribe,” El Tambo Mayor Carlos Vela told EFE on Friday.
Vela said the area where the incident occurred was far from the municipal headquarters and that they were waiting for the army or other reinforcements to arrive to throw light on what happened.
Vela explained that two days earlier two other people were killed in Uribe.
Earlier, the Ombudsman’s Office reported that five people had been murdered by strangers in a rural area around Arauca, capital of the region by the same name, bordering Venezuela.
Civilian youth organizations and student representatives on Friday called for a response from the Colombian government to the recent killings in the southwestern part of the country, on a day marked by demonstrations against violence and state abandonment.
The protesters asked for swift and effective investigations into the killings and criticized the state of the abandonment in which the country’s rural and ethnic communities live.
“We must unite to call on the government to investigate the incidents and provide the communities the effective security necessary,” said Maria Fernanda Arteaga of the Colombian Association of Student Representatives (ACREES).
For Arteaga, the absence of state institutions ends up fostering “many armed groups that seek to take justice in their own hands” with actions that lead to more “injustice, massacres and insecurity.”
“Violence in the southwest is a difficult issue to deal with because the authorities in the municipalities do not exist, that is, the State has no presence in the remote municipalities,” she added.
The youth protesters also started a twitter trend #DuqueRespondaPorLasMasacres urging President Ivan Duque to respond with concrete measures to the killings.
In recent weeks, Colombia has been rocked by several massacres in the departments of Nariño and Valle del Cauca.
The most recent one occurred on Tuesday when some unknown people murdered three indigenous people of the Awa community in the Pialapi-Pueblo Viejo indigenous shelter, located in a remote rural area, about nine hours from the municipal head of Ricaurte, in the department of Nariño.
Three days before that, eight people aged 19-25 years were killed by strangers in the village of Santa Catalina, in the Nariño department, where a 26-year-old woman had been murdered hours earlier, again by unknown assailants.
Another massacre occurred on Aug. 11 when some unknown people murdered five minors, all between the ages of 14 and 15, near the Llano Verde neighborhood in Cali, capital of Valle del Cauca.