José Cortés Sevillano was the leader of the National Programme for the Substitution of Crops of Illicit Use in the township of Llorente, in the municipality of Tumaco on the Pacific coast of Narino. He was also an active member of the Sembrapaz association.
He had a degree in physical education and worked as a teacher of physical education in the local school. His work focused on supporting less favoured communities.
The Killing & Investigation
The Nariño Police confirmed the murder of teacher José Cortés Sevillano that occurred in the township of Llorente, rural area of Tumaco.
The crime took place on Friday night 6th of September.
According to local sources, community leader Cortez was enjoying the friendly match between Colombia and Brazil in a commercial establishment near the road to the sea.
At that moment, two men approached and posing as fans, shot him repeatedly.
Despite the attempts of those present to help him, the leader died from serious injuries caused by the shooting.
José’s relatives assured that he had not reported any previous death threats against him, so the motives for the crime are unknown.
The authorities in the south of the country began the investigation, while the governor of that department, Camilo Romero, condemned the murder and said that Colombia cannot continue to bury social leaders, so urgent intervention is required.
Romero, acted as spokesperson for those in the community who condemned this new violent act, that took the life of the Tumaqueño leader.
“Like so many other social leaders, he worked in defence of his people. We stand in solidarity with his family. Let the massacre stop now! ”, He added on twitter.
With this latest killing, Nariño continues to be one of the worst hit departments in Colombia in the face of the murder of social leaders.
A Legal Medicine report this year showed that the department is the fourth most affected in Colombia by this problem .
The figures also indicate that Tumaco is the community in the country most affected by the murder of its leaders.
Following this, defenders and activists reiterated, once again, their call to the central government to make substantive decisions on this issue, and to ensure that not one more leader falls.
In Llorente and other areas of the rural territory of Tumaco remember Cortez with great affection.
“I am very aware of the need to look for solutions to the problems of the people. What is happening to us breaks our hearts, ”said Lionar Melo, a resident of the region and s friend of Cortez.
He also emphasised that they recently had a meeting with Cortez in which he had just expressed his concern about the escalation of violence in Tumaco.