Rita Rubiela Bayona Alfonso was vice-president of the Junta de Acción Comunal (Community Action Board) in the community of Once de Noviembre in Santa Marta, Magdalena.
Rita had previously received death threats, which she had reported to the Attorney General’s office, and was being provided with protection by the Metropolitan Police. The protection consisted of the police doing preventative sweeps through the area by car.
On 25 August, 2020; she was in a car park in the Monterrey part of the city when she was approached by two men on a motorcycle who shot her dead. Ownership of the site of the car park which Rita was managing is disputed between several groups including individuals involved in drug dealing.
Deputy Claudia Patricia Aarón has called on the authorities to deliver justice for the vile and cowardly murder: “We demand justice from the authorities and condemn the vile and cowardly murder of Mrs. Ruby Bayona Vice President of the JAC of Barrio 11 de November and Santa Marta. Violence reigns in this city, robberies have increased and insecurity is the daily reality for most citizens.
We are seeing assassinated leaders, territories where people have been driven out, criminal organisations with more authority than those legally constituted, total misgovernment. Santa Marta is at the mercy of criminals in front of the astonished gaze of a District Government that is not capable of living up to its responsibilities.”