A community leader and human rights defender was killed in southwestern Colombia Saturday after receiving death threats from the neo-paramilitary group “Aguilas Negras.”
Miller Angulo was murdered by assassins on a motorcycle who fired 7 shots at him as he left a building in the town of Tumaco, Nariño, according to NGO sources.
Angulo was a local leader fighting for the rights of people displaced by the armed conflict and was a prominent member of the Bureau of Victims of Tumaco and the regional Bureau of Victims of Nariño. He had been mentioned, along with other individuals and organisations, in threats issued by illegal armed group Aguilas Negras on October 10, 2010 then again more recently on November 13, 2012.
Following the assassination, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and Refugees has called upon “the relevant agencies to investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators” and to investigate the source of the death threats.
But civil society leaders are concerned that the government is not providing the protection it has promised to human rights defenders. They say that Miller Angulo was even present at a meeting with government officials on November 27, at which officials from the national agency responsible for protecting human rights defenders guaranteed the security of leaders such as himself.
In the last few years there has been a series of murders of people making claims under Colombia’s law to restore land to victims of the armed conflict. This killing again calls into question the government’s protection program for threatened human rights defenders, say NGOs.
They point out that another paramilitary group in Nariño called “Ejercito Anti-Restitucion de Nariño” also issued threats against human rights defenders in February 2012, and have expressed concern that those taking part in government restitution initiatives are at increased risk of threats and violence.
Miller Angulo was 35 years old and leaves behind a wife and two children.