Some 4,700 city council members in Colombia are threatened. More than half of them lack effective protection, according to a report released on Tuesday by the National Federation of Council Members (Fenacon).
In response, Ombudsman Jorge Otalora has solicited the Interior Ministry to increase security measures for the threatened local politicians.
The petition comes after a a city council member and member of the Social Indigenous Movement in the southwest state of Putumayo was murdered last week by contract killers on motorcycles outside his house of residence.
Fenacon Executive Director Dr. Edgar Polo told Colombia Reports that he is hopeful a solution can be arranged to protect the lives of local politicians in the country. “We had a very good reception from the National Government, who have recognized the risk and are working with us towards concrete solutions.”
According to Polo the threats come from various different factions within Colombia, including the FARC, criminal gangs, and political rivals within the municipal administrations.
“With the government’s help, we hope to strengthen security for those council members at risk, especially in the the high-risk areas, or ‘red zones,’ of Colombia,” said Polo. “We know we cannot end the threats, but we want to at least minimize the danger.”
Polo said that there have been around 400 assassinations of councilors in the last 10 years. Their perceived lack of protection from the government lead to a strike in September.
- En Colombia hay 4.700 concejales amenazados
- Interview with Fenacon Executive Director Dr. Edgar Polo