MAC: Mines and Communities

Urgent Action Requested: President Of The Agro-mining Federation Of Sur De Bolivar Detained

Published by MAC on 2007-04-15



The Agro-mining Federation of Sur de Bolívar - Fedeagromisbol, the National Agricultural Co-ordination - CNA, the Process of Black Communities - PCN, Corporation Sembrar, the Colombia Friendship Network and the European Network of Friendship with Colombia denounce the following:

1. Towards 9am this morning, 26 April 2007 Federation president TEÓFILO MANUEL ACUÑA RIBÓN was detained by members of the Nueva Granada anti-air battalion of the [army's] 5th Brigade at the Federation's office in the town of Santa Rosa, Sur de Bolívar.

2. The army referred to a capture order issues by Edward José Cabello Baquero, a prosecuting attorney from section 28 in Cartagena, which speaks of the alias Teófilo with trade union leader as profession.

3. Teófilo was hit at the moment of his detention and, according to the dragoon Córdoba, due to superior orders a lawyer has been prevented access. Both of which make us fear for his physical state.

4. A formal meeting of the Dialogue Panel between the communities and the national government took place in Santa Rosa today, for which reason there are several national authorities present in the town.

5. TEÓFILO MANUEL ACUÑA RIBÓN is a witness in the continuing case against the Nueva Granada anti-air battalion for the assassination of another Federation leader Alejandro Uribe.

6. This occurs at the time when debates on the Mining Code are being prepared, in which the Federation has taken an active role.

7. A woman official of the Defensoría del Pueblo [lit People's Defender - legal ombudsman] was also hit.

We demand:

1. the immediate release of TEÓFILO MANUEL ACUÑA RIBÓN, Federation president and spokesman of the agro-mining communities on the Sur de Bolívar Dialogue Panel with the national government.

2. that Nueva Granada anti-air battalion of the 5th Brigade is investigated for its repeated assaults on the inhabitants of Sur de Bolívar, specifically First Sergeant ARDILA of the battalion who struck TEÓFILO MANUEL ACUÑA RIBÓN and the Defensoría del Pueblo official.

3. That officers of the national, departmental and regional government who have gone to the meeting of the Dialogue Panel that should have started at 9.00am today 26 April with the Federación Agrominera's representative Teófilo Acuña make a public statement.

4. That TEÓFILO MANUEL ACUÑA RIBÓN's lawyer has immediate access to the place of his detention.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Please direct communications to the following authorities / Pueden dirigir comunicaciones a las siguientes autoridades:

Dr. Álvaro UribeVélez
Presidente de la Republica
Fax: 57 1 566 2071

Dr. Francisco Santos.
Vicepresidente de Colombia

Dr. Carlos Franco
Director del Programa de Derechos Humanos de Vicepresidencia

Teniente Coronel Jairo Alejandro Fuentes Sandoval
Comandante Batallón Antiaéreo Nueva Granada
Telefax: 57 6229425 - Barrancabermeja

Dr. Edgardo Jose Maya Villazón
Procurador General de la Nacion.

Dr. Volmar Antonio Perez Ortiz
Defensor del Pueblo
Fax: 57 1 6400491

Dr. Michael Frühling
Oficina del Alto Comisionado de Naciones Unidas para los derechos humanos.
Fax: 57 1 6293637

COLOMBIA SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN ADDS: Also email Colombian Embassy in the UK:

Background to the Urgent Action:

Ten years ago there was a wave of paramilitary violence against the artisanal gold miners in South Bolivar, just at the time that former apartheid Anglo-Gold mining corporation showed interest in taking out concessions.

Today South Bolivar is under highly repressive military rule, with dozens of violations in the last 6 months. The artisanal miners organisation Federación Agrominera del Sur de Bolivar is especially targeted and its leader Alejandro Uribe was assassinated last year.

Meanwhile it is now Anglogold Ashanti's subsidiary Kehdada that is seeking licences to mine across Colombia. Anglogold Ashanti is 42% owned by Anglo-American, the London stock exchange listed giant that declared an operating profit of US $9.8 billon for 2006.

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