Rebels of Colombia’s largest rebel group FARC charge landmine victims money for destroying a mine that was meant for the army, a local newspaper reported on Monday.
According to newspaper El Colombiano, several victims have come forward saying that, after losing a limb because of a landmine, guerrillas approached them to demand money for the destruction of the landmine.
One example given by the newspaper was that of a man from the south of the company who had stepped on a landmine. According to the guerrillas, the man had to pay 500,000 pesos (US$250), because he had damaged a landmine that was meant for the army and not for him.
“The farmer stepped on the mine and, regardless of the physical and pshocological harm, had to pay for the dame he allegedly had caused,” an anonymous representative of an NGO in the Caqueta department told the newspaper.
According to the newspaper, the FARC charges in between 50,000 (US$25) and 1.000,000 pesos (US$500) for people who incidentally step on landmines.
Out of fear of having to pay money to the FARC, some victims decide not to go to the hospital or to say their leg was blown off by a shotgun, the newspaper said.
Some 8,000 Colombians have been mutilated by landmines since 1990. The majority of them are soldiers involved in combatting the guerrillas.