COLOMBIA: Nonviolence urged after CPT partners kidnapped

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CPTnet
23 January 2013
COLOMBIA: Nonviolence urged after CPT partners kidnapped

National and international news sources have reported that the
National Liberation Army (ELN), Colombia’s second-largest guerrilla group, kidnapped
five people – one Canadian, two Peruvians and two Colombians – in the southern
region of the Department of Bolivar on 18 January.  In a 19 January release, Christian
Peacemaker Teams (CPT) Colombia partner, the Southern Bolivar Agricultural-Mining
Federation (FEDEAGROMISBOL), reported that six, not five people, including two
leaders of the FEDEAGROMISBOL, were kidnapped. Together with FEDEAGROMISBOL,
CPT Colombia denounces the illegal detention of these six people and demands their
immediate release. We also call on the authorities to allow nonviolent
means to be used to resolve this situation, preventing further violence from
occurring. Family members of one of the Peruvians held have reportedly issued a similar plea.

The following is FEDEAGROMISBOL’s statement.

PUBLIC RELEASE

Given the events in the village Casa de Barro in Norosi Township, the Southern
Bolivar Agricultural-Mining Federation (FEDEAGROMISBOL), informs national and
international public opinion:

1. On January 18, 2013, in the village of Casa de Barro in Norosi Township, six
people were detained illegally, allegedly by ELN guerrillas.

2. Among those detained are: MANUEL ZABALETA CENTENO, agro-mining leader and
president of the Miners Association of Casa de Barro and ALEXIS LOPEZ,
president of the Miners Association of Mina Seca, both members of
FEDEAGROMISBOL. The other four people are apparently employees of a mining
company.

3. FEDEAGROMISBOL rejects this illegal imprisonment, in addition to the
multiple assaults by insurgents, paramilitaries and security forces carried out
against inhabitants of the region.

4. We demand that those who have detained these people respect their lives and
release them immediately.

5. We demand that the national army suspend operations being carried out in the
area where these events occurred that endanger the persons held and communities
in the region.

6. We ask the International Committee of the Red Cross to intervene and urge
the captors to release the detainees and facilitate the process.

7. We believe that such actions are a direct result of the policy of
indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources promoted by the Colombian
government, auctioning off southern Bolivar and giving our natural resources to
transnational companies, seriously jeopardizing the life and the ability of the
people to remain in the territory of this region.

8. FEDEAGROMISBOL confirms once again our unconditional commitment to defend
our territorial rights and the right to life of the people living in the
region.

Southern Bolivar Agricultural-Mining Federation (FEDEAGROMISBOL)

January 19, 2013

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