Colombia: Community leader assassinated amid massacre probe

Jose Jair Cortes was the spokesperson of the Alta Mira y Frontera community in Tumaco, Narino state.

A leader of the community that lost seven members in an alleged police massacre has been assassinated in southwest Colombia, the regional government said on October 17.

Jose Jair Cortes was the spokesperson of the Alta Mira y Frontera community in Tumaco, Narino state, where anti-narcotics officials allegedly murdered seven people on October 5.

Cortes was assassinated in the urban part of Tumaco, in spite of government protection.

The homicide was immediately condemned by the Narino Governor’s Office, which called on judicial authorities to immediately investigate the killing.

The victim’s community council was the body that accused the National Police of being behind the worst massacre since the beginning of a peace process with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), agreed in November last year.

The security forces initially blamed dissident FARC guerrillas, but became the primary suspect in the mass killing after locals began publishing videos that disproved the initial version.

According to the Medical Examiner’s Office, the victims were killed by bullets used by the security forces. Some of the victims had been shot in the back, said the forensic investigators.

[Abridged from Colombia Reports.]

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