Plinio Pulgarín was killed on 18 January 2018, in the department of Córdoba in Colombia, a region rife with the continued displacement of families. Plinio worked as the president of the Community Action Board of the rural community of San Pedrito de San José de Uré and his death was announced by the Association of Campesinos of the South of Córdoba (Asociación de Campesinos del Sur de Córdoba or ASCUSUR.)
Although there are few available details as to what happened, human rights defender Andrés Chica stated to news organisation ‘W Radio’ that “armed people in military dress arrived at PlinioPulgarín’s home to reprimand him for promoting a programme for the substitution of illicit crops.” The community leader promoted the voluntary substitution of illegal crops for legal ones.
After killing him, the murderers went on to threaten another local social leader, Diana Dorado, giving her 30 minutes to leave her home unless she wanted to die like he did. News of his death, which took place in the early hours of Thursday morning, rocked the town creating fear that more incidents would occur. The crime against Plinio Pulgarín generated the forced displacement of at least 12 families. Another 60 made the decision to flee the region subsequently.
A few days earlier, the community had reported the presence of armed groups and an early warning alert was announced on the 14 January. In it, the authorities warned of a difficult security situation facing communities in the south of Córdoba, given the presence of paramilitaries.