El Azul in the state of Putamayo, Colombia, lies on the border between Colombia and Ecuador and there is a high level of dissident paramilitary activity in the area.
Bayron Ruiz Rueda lived in Vereda 18 in Sucumbios, Ecuador but farmed his land across the border in the community of El Azul. He had previously been president of the Junta de Accion Comunal – JAC, (Community Council) in Vereda 18, and at the time of his death was a member of the JAC in El Azul.
According to Programa Somos Defensores, at 06.00 am on the morning of 28 January 2020, Bayron left his home in Vereda 18 to go across the river which forms the border, to his fields in El Azul. Along the way, armed men intercepted him and shot him multiple times. He died instantly.
Bayron was a well respected leader in both communities and local people called on the government to take immediate action to protect the people in this unsettled area.