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Death threats force 11 councilors to resign in northern Colombia

Death threats force 11 councilors to resign in northern Colombia

Eleven councilors in a violent province in northern Colombia have resigned after receiving death threats from the country's largest leftist rebel group, the province's interior minister said Monday.
Manuel Luna said only three councilors remain following the resignations Friday in the municipality of Teorama, in the Norte de Santander province, 380 kilometers (240 miles) north of the capital of Bogota.
Luna and Luis Morelli, the province's governor, blamed the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, for the threats.
"The guerrillas are carrying out a strategy of intimidation over the phone and in messages which has caused panic among mayors and local councilors," Morelli said.
He said the rebels are reacting to increased soldier and police presence in the province, home to drug-traffickers, right-wing militias and leftist rebels.
The local government was to hold a security meeting Monday to discuss the situation.
Jose Antonio Galan, president of the National Federation of Councilors of Colombia, said 5,000 councilors have been threatened in the last five years, and 22 have been killed this year.
"The FARC threaten more than any other group," Galan said.
Both mayors and councilors have been listed as military targets by the leftist rebels for more than a year, said Gilberto Toro, president of the national federation of municipalities.
"Those who work closest to zones where the FARC operate run the greatest risk," Toro said.
The FARC, fighting for a leftist revolution, are in their fifth-decade of conflict with the government.


Updated : 2021-10-22 09:30 GMT+08:00