21 years after the paramilitary massacre in Chengue, Colombia | News

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The community of the corregimiento of Chengue, located in the Montes de María Caribbean subregion (northern Colombia), commemorates this January 17 the paramilitary massacre that took place in 2001, where 27 peasants were murdered.

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The North blockade of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) ruled, through its co-founder Carlos Castaño Gil, to assassinate the population accusing them of being “collaborators” of the 37th front of the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army. (FARC-EP).

For the event, Castaño Gil ordered Rodrigo Mercado Pelufo, alias “Cadena,” to lead the operation. In the early hours of January 17, 2001, 60 paramilitaries arrived in the territory, cut off the electricity and, with a list in hand, took all the men out of their residences to torture and murder them.



“It was at dawn; It was about 4:30 in the morning when they cut the power. Then the dogs were heard barking and after a while they began to break down the doors of the houses and get people out. They only took out men”, remembers a witness.

According to the confessions of some ex-paramilitaries and relatives of the victims, the peasants were massacred with the use of machetes and handcrafted artifacts known as “Monas”, which are used to split stones.

damned

On October 19, 2009, the fourth Administrative Court of Sincelejo accused the State of omission and laziness in protecting the inhabitants of the Montes de María corregimiento by the Police and Marine Corps. The Nation had to compensate the relatives of the victims with an amount of 3,500 million pesos.

That same year, the Sincelejo Specialized Circuit Criminal Court sentenced former paramilitary Uber Enrique Bánquez Martínez, alias “Juancho Dique,” to 23 years in prison for his responsibility in the massacre.

Another sentenced by the same court was Nidia Esther Velilla, alias “Beatriz”, who was sentenced to 40 years for the crimes of conspiracy to commit a crime, aggravated robbery, aggravated forced displacement and arson, despite only serving seven years and six months in prison. .

For its part, Mercado Pelufo remains missing, although his vehicle was found burned in 2005. The paramilitary is accused of disappearing at least 3,000 people in the department of Sucre, where he operated.

Territorial impacts

After the massacre, many inhabitants did not return to their territory, with compensation from the State they preferred to go to another department or, as in most cases, they made their home in the urban case of Sucre.

In a report of the Renewal and Confidence Foundation in 2017, in the Chengue Before the paramilitary incursion there were 90 families and 100 existing homes, but currently there are only 23 homes and 83 inhabitants.

The inhabitants who remain in the corregimiento survive in precarious conditions, public services are almost non-existent. The economy that was based on the cultivation of bananas and avocados is now undergoing a gradual restoration.

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