July 7, 2020

Colombian church warns of "imminent risk" of new massacre in Bojayá

A group of social organizations and the Diocese of Quibdó on Sunday warned the Colombian Government about the "imminent risk" of a new massacre in the municipality of Bojayá, which in 2002 lived one of the bloodiest killings of the Colombian armed conflict.

The complaint was made in Bojayá, which is part of the department of Chocó, just the day the population began to give the final farewell to the fatalities of that massacre.

"When Afro and indigenous communities in the municipality of Bojayá prepare to receive the mortal remains of our loved ones who were vilely slaughtered the fateful May 2, 2002 (…) again threatening events of displacements, confinements, massacres , torture, disappearances, recruitment, "said the priest Sterling Londoño, from the Diocese of Quibdó.

He did so by reading a letter that was signed by the Diocese of Quibdó, the Chocó Solidarity Inter-Ethnic Forum, the Greater Community Council of the Integral Peasant Association of the Atrato, Federation of Associations of Indigenous Councils of Chocó (Fedeorewa) and the Indigenous Bureau of the Crashed


At the beginning of the wake – attended by the inhabitants of Bojayá, the Government, the UN and representatives of the international community – the priest Londoño asked the Colombian President, Iván Duque, for a political will so that there will be guarantees of non-repetition, as The 2002 massacre was one of the bloodiest in the Colombian armed conflict.

Family members say goodbye to many of those who died on May 2, 2002 when a bomb launched by the FARC during a fight with paramilitaries of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) fell in the church where part of the town had taken refuge. and killed at least 79 people, although other figures speak of 119 dead and dozens injured.


Almost a hundred coffin, 49 coffees where the bodies of adults and 50 whites are located in those of the minors, were transferred early from the Bojayá auditorium, in the prosecutors and forensics explained the week passed to family members how was the identification process, to the sports center of that population.

There an improvised altar was adapted in which the "Mutilated Christ" stands out, as the Christ of Bojayá is known who lost legs and arms in the explosion, and kept for several years until it was restored and in 2017 blessed by Pope Francis When he visited Colombia.

On the sports scene, relatives also installed a giant sign that read "The victims of Bojayá, rest in peace" and below it they put the coffin, each of which bears a closeup with the names of the deceased and some of them with photographs of those who died in the killing.

The ceremony began with a Eucharist officiated by Monsignor Juan Carlos Barreto, bishop of the Diocese of Quibdó, capital of Chocó, who was accompanied by the president of the Truth Commission, the Jesuit priest Francisco de Roux, and the priest Jesús Albeiro Parra Solís, who at the time of the killing was the director of the Social Pastoral, among others.


On the other hand, the communities denounced in their letter that after the signing of the peace agreement in November 2016, the space left by the FARC was occupied by the guerrilla of the National Liberation Army (ELN), which "has been strengthened militarily and has increased its aggressions against the civilian population. "

"In the same way the Government has not been effective in combating new forms of paramilitarism and criminal gangs (such as the Gulf Clan), who today have increased their actions within the ethnic territories," they added.

In that sense, Londoño explained that the Ombudsman's Office has already issued two early warnings and five reports of risk consummation in which it warns of the worrying situation in Bojayá, while the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has reported violations against the ethnic population.


The criminal groups, explained Londoño, are in the populated centers "imposing social, political, territorial and economic control", especially paramilitaries "that are supplied by the Atrato River", the main tributary of the department.

"All this happens under the unaffected gaze of the control of the public force in the low and medium Atrato," he added.

That is why they asked Duque to implement the peace agreement in a "timely and comprehensive manner, especially with regard to the ethnic chapter and provide constitutional guarantees to the Afro and indigenous people of Bojayá."

. (tagsToTranslate) Colombian Church (t) (t) warns (t) imminent (t) Bojaya

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