One of the witnesses against Colombia’s former army chief Mario Montoya survived an assassination attempt on Friday.
The victim, Alfamir Castillo, was taken under fire by so-called “sicarios” on a motorcycle while she was driving from the town of Palmira to Cali, Colombia’s third largest city.
Castillo survived the attempt because she had been granted an armored vehicle and bodyguards after intervention from the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights in October. She has been receiving death threats since 2013.
Castillo, whose son was one of thousands of civilians who were murdered by the army under Montoya’s watch, received several more death threats just hours before the assassination attempt that took place on Friday just after 9PM.
The threats appeared to have been sent by former subordinates of Montoya, one of the closest allies of controversial former President Alvaro Uribe, who is accused of creating a far-right death squad that terrorized Medellin and the surrounding Antioquia province in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Don’t think we are playing around. Don’t believe we are lying. Death is surrounding you and you don’t believe it. Not even your bodyguards will be able to save you, old bitch. We will charge you for everything that has happened to us. Die, die, die.
Death threat sent on Friday 4:50PM
This is an ultimatum, old bitch. We already know everything and that you’re scared, but not even a thousand security schemes will save you from us. You will pay in blood for your lack of respect for our commander and the release of our men are our best weapon. Die, die, die, old bitch.
Death threat sent on Friday 6:46PM
Castillo has been among the most vociferous victim representatives in the case against Montoya before Colombia’s war crimes tribunal.
Attorney German Romero told newspaper El Espectador that the so-called Special Jurisdiction for Peace “has abandoned Doña Alfamir” despite the ongoing threats to kill her.
If anything else were to happen to Alfamir Castillo, it would be the failure of the possibilities to access justice… We believe that there is contempt on the part of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace for the victims of extrajudicial executions, as was seen in the hearings in September and October last year.
Attorney German Romero via El Espectador
Montoya’s rise in the military was accompanied by a growing number of civilian deaths.
Despite incessant complaints that the military was murdering civilians to pretend it was winning the war against leftist guerrilla groups, Montoya was not fired from the military until 2007 when the scandal hit the international headlines.
Since then, the prosecution found that the military had killed more than 4,500 civilians to inflate its apparent success in the armed conflict against guerrillas.
Apart from charges related to these mass killing of civilians, Montoya is accused of having teamed up with Medellin crime lord “Don Berna” during military offensives inside Colombia’s second largest city to oust leftist urban militias. These offensives effectively consolidated the control of Berna’s Oficina de Envigado over the city.