Colombia Community Leader Gunned Down After Threats

Story ByAna LacasaSub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyNewsflash

A Colombian social leader has reportedly been shot dead after reporting death threats against him and being assigned a security detail.

Edison Lopez Perez, president of the Communal Action Board in the area of San Juan del Bosco in the municipality of San Miguel in the south-western Colombian department of Putumayo, recently claimed he was threatened by the rebel group Frente 48.

Police spokesperson Francisco Gelvez Aleman said the 57-year-old social leader had a security detail with him from the National Protection Unit (UNP) as well as backup support from the police and army.

Credit: CEN/@CINEP_PPP

According to reports, he left his home with two bodyguards to walk to a nearby property when a group of people shot him dead before fleeing.

It is unclear whether the bodyguards were hurt in the incident.

Before his death, the victim said he was being targeted by Frente 48 over the enforcement of COVID-19 measures in the area.

A local resident told reporters that the armed group “assigned hours for when people could take a walk, curfew times, fines, as well as death threats to anyone who broke their lockdown rules”.

Gelvez Aleman said: “I am truly sorry about Edison’s death because he was a great person and well trusted. He stood his security team down, went out of the house, did not call the authorities, and hitmen took advantage.

“You should never lower your guard.”

According to the Putumayo Farmers Association, 15 social leaders have been killed in the Colombian department so far this year.

On 24th April, the United Nations Human Rights Council said that at least 19 human rights and social leaders have been killed nationwide this year.

The ViralTab page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.

Ana Lacasa

I am a senior writer and journalist and editor of the Spanish desk for the Central European News agency.