Death in Tumaco: Growers Protest Against Forced Eradication of Coca; At Least 8 Killed and As Many As 50 Wounded (E)
According to Colombia’s authorities, dissident FARC guerrillas launched mortars into a crowd of police and citizens, but locals and human rights organizations claim police opened fire on coca growers in a clash Thursday that left at least eight farmers dead.
The violent incident in a rural area of Tumaco, Nariño follows more than 20 other protests throughout Colombia in which several farmers have been killed by security forces. The National Police and the National Army said in a press release that “it seems that ‘Guacho’ and his dissident group of the FARC’s Daniel Aldana [Column] launched at least five cylinder bombs against members of the security forces and the public” before opening fire.
The National Police reported no injured civilians or security forces. Local groups say only civilians were killed or injured in the outbreak of violence.
Some reports speak of more than 50 injured protesters. French press agency AFP reported that both locals and human rights defenders say police opened fire on the coca farmers who were protesting police efforts to forcibly eradicate coca, the base in ingredient of cocaine. Atticus Ballesteros, Colombia Reports