Sandra Banda Meneses was president of the Junta de Acción Comunal, (Community Action Board) in the community of El Paraíso in La Caucana, Tarazá. She was also a leader of numerous projects to create opportunities for women in the agricultural sector.
On 1 September, 2020, Sandra was intercepted by a group of armed men as she was travelling through the area and shot dead.
According to local sources, Sandra was targeted by armed paramilitary group Los Caparrapos. The killing is linked to an escalation in fighting for control of illegal gold mining activities by paramilitary groups for whom illegal gold mining is their main source of income.
According to Óscar Yesid Zapata, spokesperson for Proceso Social de Garantías Para Defensores y Defensoras de Derechos Humanos en Antioquia, (Community Project for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Antioquia) “For several years we have been alerting the national and departmental authorities to the strong presence of paramilitary groups in the area. With the recent killings, and the cruel and inhuman way in which they are being perpetrated, for us it is a return to the levels of violence we experienced in the 1980’s and 1990’s.”
In a statement the Observatory of the Sumapaz Foundation, reported that “in addition to the murder of Sandra Banda Meneses, sixteen other community leaders have been murdered in Antioquia alone so far in 2020.”