lunes, 15 de julio de 2013

Guatemalan authorities catch suspects over police massacre

Guatemala detained on 14 July nine individuals including a policeman suspected of involvement in the murder on 13 June of eight policemen in Salcajá in the western department of Quetzaltenango. A ninth policeman was kidnapped during the assault on the police post, and later found dismembered in various spots near the Mexican frontier. The suspects were caught amid 38 raids carried out in La Democracia in Huehuetenango that also yielded assault weapons, 15 cars and cash in different currencies worth around 15,000 USD, Spain's El País reported, citing declarations by the Interior Minister Mauricio López Bonilla. The daily cited the director of Guatemala's public prosecution service Claudia Paz y Paz as saying "we have enough evidence indicating that the detained are responsible for" the crime. Media cited authorities as interpreting the massacre as a punitive act against the kidnapped policeman, an officer at the station who apparently had taken or stolen money and cocaine belonging to the gangsters thought involved in the crime. He was not killed immediately but kidnapped to reveal where he had hidden them.

Colombia detains guerrilla captain, fighter deserts

Colombian troops caught near Venezuela a member of the outlawed National Liberation Army (ELN), a fighter dubbed Diego or el Gringo sought by Interpol for suspected activities including sedition, extortion and criminal conspiracy, media reported on 14 July. The 26-year-old was described as a go-between for ELN chiefs in two Colombian departments; he was caught in the district of Saravena in the north-eastern department of Arauca, Spain's EFE agency reported. A member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) separately surrendered to troops in southern Colombia "recently," explaining he fled soon after the FARC forced him to execute a 17-year-old companion, the daily Perú 21 reported on 13 July. The desertor, a fighter dubbed Chispa from the FARC's Front 48, reportedly spent three days in the jungle and surrendered in the district of La Tagua in the Putumayo department. He told the army that one of the Front commanders, a man dubbed Robinson Cucarro, had ordered shot the teenager for losing a "wooden rifle used in training." He was said to have forced Chispa to shoot him for opposing the decision, Perú 21 reported, citing a statement by the Colombian navy.

Criminals shoot land activist in northern Colombia

Unidentified gunmen shot dead on 11 July an activist working to restore stolen lands to their owners in the northern Colombian department of Bolívar, El Tiempo reported on 15 July. The Colombian Government has encouraged rural families who fled lawless districts in past years to return and reclaim lands stolen from them; decades of conflict between the state and the two communist guerrilla forces have fomented insecurity and relative lawlessness in parts of Colombia that have become breeding grounds for armed gangs and paramilitaries engaged in activities including extortion and land grabbing. The national broadcaster Señal Colombia regularly publicises the progress of the Government's land restitution programme, depicting contented peasants resuming farming activities in bucolic settings. Yet the programme was bound to generate resistance - which in Colombia often means violence - from those who took over stolen lands. The 31-year-old activist José Segundo Turizo, said to have been shot in the neck and head in the district of Tiquisio, was coordinating the restitution of the lands to 14 families. The daily described him as a farmer and father of five. Separately, the daily Vanguardia Liberal reported on 15 July that 19 people were shot or found dead around the capital Bogotá over the weekend of 12-14 July.