Indigenous governor Aulio Isarama Forastero was murdered Tuesday evening in Alto Baudo, a town in the Chocó region on the Pacific coast of Colombia.
The governor of the community Catru Dubaza Ancoso was taken away by armed men dressed in clothes belonging to Colombian guerrilla group ELN, according to a statement by the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC).
Approximately five men intimidated Isarama Forastero and said they would bring to him to talk to their bosses, said the statement. “About two hours later the community heard several shots. That’s the moment they believe the indigenous leader’s life ended,” it continued.
The ELN declared a bilateral ceasefire on October 1st, and is currently in dialogue with the Colombian government in Quito. However the government has asked the UN to investigate the murder, and determine if this might be the first violation of the guerrilla groups’ ceasefire agreement.
ELN combatant Diego Galvis wrote on Twitter the ELN have been informed and are investigating.
1. A esta cuenta han preguntado sobre el caso del indígena asesinado ayer en el Dpto. del Chocó. El ELN ya está informado y está indagando.
— ELN_RANPAL (@ELN_RANPAL_COL) October 25, 2017
In addition to the assassination of Isarama Forastero, ONIC also says the ELN is responsible for the kidnapping of a teacher in the same community, Jhon Eriberto Isarama Forastero, which took place on October 7th. He hasn’t been seen since.
The murder of social leaders has left a stain on Colombia’s peace process. Before July 5th of this year, 52 social leaders were murdered in Colombia. Between January 2016 and March 2017, 156 human rights leaders were assassinated.