Wilmar Carvajalino was a community leader in Micoahumado, a mountainous region in the south of the Colombian department of Bolívar, rich in natural resources –including gold deposits– with strong presence of guerrilla members of ELN.
Carvajalino was a member of the COOTRASMIC-Cooperativa Transportadora de Micoahumado (Micoahumado Transport Coop) and worked as a driver for the Asociación Agrominera del Sur de Bolívar, an organization of miners and farmers who was active at demanding the rights of the community, mostly made up of internally displaced people from other rural areas of Colombia due to the armed conflict.
On May 10, Carvajalino drove the Association’s truck through the village of La Arcadia, between Moralito and Micoahumado when several armed individuals ambushed him around 2:40 pm, forced him out of the vehicle and shoot him five times.
The community leader was accompanied by Pablo de Jesús Santiago, leader of the village of Micoahumado and adviser to the Asociación Agrominera del Sur de Bolívar.
This was the second murder of a leader in the same week, in Micoahumado. On May 8th the candidate to council of Morales municipality, Belisario Arciniegas García was also shot dead.
The community in the area warned the authorities of a possible mass displacement of social leaders working in southern Bolívar. For decades, rural and remote communities across Colombia, including the community of Micoahumado, have been affected by violence and human rights violations by guerrilla, paramilitary and security forces.
In many cases, this has led to forced displacement and tensions over land ownership for the use of natural resources. This has been exacerbated by a lack of a strong State presence in remote areas.