Elkín Fabián Toro

Source El Tiempo

In less than a month, the communities of the Catatumbo region are once again mourning the abrupt death of Elkin Fabián Toro, the fifth social leader of this troubled sector of the department of Norte de Santander, who has played a leading role in leadership in society it was ‘silenced’ with the buzz of arms.

According to a report from the police, the lifeless body of this peasant leader, from the municipality of San Calixto, was found on Saturday afternoon, in the village of Filo El Gringo, in the municipality of El Tarra, in Norte de Santander.

This former member of several community action boards and former employee of a community radio station was found with six bullet wounds, after disappearing several days previously.

Although the circumstances surrounding his abduction are the subject of investigation by the authorities, at the scene of the crime a letter signed by several members of the community was found in which they demanded that the alleged captors respect the life of this social leader.

“For the moment an investigation is being carried out by SIJIN units, to identify and prosecuting the perpetrators of the homicide,” the Norte de Santander Police said in a statement.

“This security situation is worrisome, because we are reliving waves of systematic violence that had not been seen for 15 years, when the department was in the hands of paramilitary groups (…). But the saddest thing of all is that nobody, neither the National Government itself nor the police, has taken action to stop this bloodshed, “said the director of the Progresar Foundation, Wilfredo Cañizares.

According to the Progresar Foundation, the violent death of this 36-year-old peasant joins the other four cases of social leaders from the Catatumbo region who have been murdered this year for representing the voice of communities in processes as complex as the substitution of illicit crops.

The most recent violence took the life of Sandra Yaneth Luna, president of the Community Action Board of the village Tutumito Carbonera in the municipality of Tibú (Norte de Santander). This leader was missing five months, and her body was finally found earlier this month.

In recent days, the Attorney General’s Office published a report warning about the deterioration in the security of some regions of the country, such as Norte de Santander, where the representatives of these communities have become military targets for some criminal organisations.

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Department/Province/State:Norte de Santander




Date of Killing:18/02/2018

Previous Threats:No information

Type of Work:NGO member

Organisation:former administrative position on the Junta de Acción Comunal de la Vereda El Zul

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

Sector Detail:Peasant Communities

More information:Front Line Defenders

1This database records an individual's chosen gender identity. If they do not self-identify as male or female they can use the option of recording other/neither or use the term NBGI (non binary gender identity).