31 year-old leader Emilsen Manyoma was killed on 17 January 2017. She was a member of Conpaz, a project that brings together proposals for peace from different territories. Emilsen was a recognised and respected leader who reported paramilitary control and drug trafficking in her neighbourhood, which is located in a marginalised area of Buenaventura and is now called the Puente Nayero Humanitarian Space. Armed actors had taken over this neighbourhood, and many others. They had converted one of the residential homes into a “chop house” which they used to kill people with machetes and throw their bodies into the sea. The mangrove swamps had been turned into floating cemeteries for these mutilated bodies, until in 2014 the civilian population in the area decided to take matters into their own hands and they created the Puente Nayero Humanitarian Space. This community initiative prohibits the entry of illegal armed actors, so that people can continue to live in their homes, despite being hemmed in by armed conflict and violence on all sides. It was in this context that Emilsen struggled for the human rights, ideals and dreams of her people.
The Conpaz network was hit hard throughout 2017. At the end of the year the leaders Mario Castaño and Hernán Bedoya were also killed. They were from the Bajo Atrato region and were also members of Conpaz.