An Ombudsman from Colombia’s Pacific coast department of Choco reports that numerous dead bodies, believed to be the victims of violence between illegal armed groups, have been pulled out of the San Juan river in the last two months.
Ombudsman Liborio Borrero said that tides heightened by the rainy season yanked at least a dozen weighed-down bodies to the surface. Borrero expressed concern that authorities have not responded promptly to requests to remove the human remains.
“A body appeared here on Friday, it stayed there all day … none of the authorities arrived to remove it, so in the end the priest entered the water to bless it. Yesterday when I was walking past on my way to vote, I saw that it was still there, so I organized for it to be tied up and it’s still there,” Borrero said.
Borrero said the San Juan river has become a sewer for the surrounding municipalities, where the bodies of murder victims are dumped.
In March a Choco peace adviser reported that seven local fisherman who had gone missing were pulled from the river.
The peace adviser blamed local paramilitary groups for the massacre and says local communities live in fear because of the presence of illegal armed groups.