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  • The number of community leaders murdered in Colombia continues to climb with the assassinations of a teacher (L) and a rights activist (R).

    The number of community leaders murdered in Colombia continues to climb with the assassinations of a teacher (L) and a rights activist (R). | Photo: Twitter: @Recp_Sur, Pulzo

Published 20 July 2018

Over 400 Colombian community leaders have been murdered since 2016, but they are not the only victims of the violence gripping the country.

The number of community leaders murdered in Colombia continued to climb this week, with the assassinations of a rights activist and a teacher.

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The latest victim has been identified as Horacio Triana Parra, a farmer and rights activist for campesinos and the head of the Community Action Board in El Carmen, a district within the city of Otanche.

"Horacio Triana Parra was going ahead with some domestic banana-harvesting activities when his father heard some shots and found him lying there. He called the National Police. This person had three wounds from a firearm," Colonel Juan Dario Rodriguez said.

A former Conservative Party candidate for the city council, Triana was highly regarded in the community and his work was both welcomed and appreciated in the town, the police colonel said.

Dario said officers are investigating the murder to "clarify as soon as possible this unfortunate fact." According to police, the victim had not received any death threats prior to the attack.

Over 400 Colombian community leaders have been murdered since the signing of the Colombian Peace Treaty in 2016, but they are not the only victims of the violence consuming the nation.

Juan de Jesus Moreno, a 38-year-old teacher, was killed in his classroom in Curillo on the evening of July 16. According to an eyewitness, the victim was shot by two unknown attackers.

Abrahan Medina, vice-president of the Education Workers Union of Caqueta, told police he believes the teacher's murder could be connected to death threats he received while working in Cartagena del Chaira in 2016, prior to being transferred.

Carlos Rivas, president of the National Federation of Educators (Fecode), said: "We have had 1,217 teachers murdered in 20 years; in this year seven teachers have been killed and we believe that it is an unacceptable statistic which shows that the state does not control the monopoly of weapons, that here there are people who are imposing their own authority and that seems to us an extremely delicate situation."

On July 17, Fecode announced they will hold a national strike on July 25 to demand government action against violent paramilitary groups that are targeting teachers and to improve access and quality of education.


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