Three young leaders of a coalition representing displaced people in Colombia were found dead this weekend with their bodies shot and decomposed.
The discovery of these bodies raises the number of dead coalition members to 45 since 2002, reported weekly Semana Tuesday.
The bodies of Andres Alfonso Arenas Buelvas, 27, and the brothers Yonnel and José Alfonso Delgado Villamil, 23 and 26, were found in an area near Santa Rosa Creek, in the municipality of La Trina, Tolima. The victims had been missing since December 23.
Semana reported that these young men were members of “New Dawn,” a coalition of displaced peoples petitioning the government to allow them to return to their land. Jose Villamil was reportedly a member of La Mesa de Concertacion de Tierras, an organization with similar goals. The young men were all displaced by paramilitaries from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region in the north of Colombia.
New Dawn’s director, Jesus Mario Corrales, told Semana that since the coalition’s creation in 2005, 18 of their leaders have been murdered and six have disappeared.
Colombia counts 3.7 million internally displaced people and 380,000 refugees abroad, making it the country with the most people displaced by violence in the world.