Alfredo Alonso Ruiz Higuita

Source Resumen Latinoamericano

Non-governmental organizations denounced the harassment of social leaders in Antoquia, Colombia.

On Saturday, Alfredo Alonso Ruiz Higuita, a community leader and member of the programme for the substitution of illegal crops in Colombia, was killed when he allegedly refused to pay an xtortion demand.

The crime was committed in Aguas Lindas in Tarazá, Bajo Cauca de Antoquia. Inhabitants of the area said that several armed people arrived at the house of the social leader and shot him dead.

“It should be noted that he was a man dedicated to his family and the construction of peace and was part of the comprehensive replacement program,” stated the non-governmental organization Map DH Antioquia on Twitter.

The first theories point to the involvement of criminal gang Los Caparrapos. NGO spokesmen assured the local press that Higuita had refused to pay an extortion of 200,000 pesos (about $ 69) to the group of criminals.

They also indicated that armed and illegal groups regularly intimidate and threaten social leaders in the area.

“On the one hand they are being extorted by the Caparrapos and, on the other hand, they are threatened by the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia who tell them that anyone who pays the extortion demand will be immediately killed”, said local activist Oscar Yesid Zapata.

He also reported that several leaders have been forced to move from their areas due to the threats and intimidation received.

Between January 2016 and June 30 of this year (2018) 311 social leaders have already been killed in the country, according to the Ombudsman’s Office

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Date of Killing:04/08/2018

Previous Threats:Yes

Type of Work:Community leader

Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:ESC Rights

Sector Detail:Peace Building, Peasant Communities

More information:Front Line Defenders

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