Source Ser Colombiano
The Ombudsman of Colombia condemned the murder of social leader James Escobar Montenegro in an official statement.
“We reject the murder of James Escobar, member of the Mirad Palmas Community Board. We demand urgent protection for its members. ”
Escobar was the social leader of the Alto Mira and Frontera communities, whose territory is in Tumaco and is made up of 1,700 families that develop community projects and support the implementation of the peace agreement signed between the Colombian government and the FARC in 2016.
According to the newspaper El País de Cali, Escobar was murdered on Wednesday in the rural area of Tumaco, the Colombian municipality with the most hectares of coca planted.
Reports indicate that Escobar was on a boat on the Mira river when gunmen who were moving on another boat shot him.
Escobar’s body fell into the water and only until Thursday was it located on a river bank and moved to the morgue of the Institute of Legal Medicine in Tumaco.
The Ombudsman of Colombia had requested the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) precautionary measures for the members of the Governing Board of the Alto Mira y Frontera Community Council (CCAMF).
The territory where the communities settle is a strategic corridor for illicit activities where FARC dissidents, drug gangs and other armed groups seek territorial control to take cocaine to the Pacific.
From Tumaco, which has the second largest port in Colombia on the Pacific Ocean, tons of cocaine are shipped every year to Central America, Mexico and the United States.
According to figures from the Ombudsman’s Office, between January 1, 2016 and August 22, 2018, 343 social leaders have been murdered.