Category Archives: Risks, threats and attacks

Threats and attacks against Aheramigua

In 2009, Aheramigua’s current president, Mauricio Sanchez, was arrested in Montecristo for alleged links to the FARC.


He was then released because there was no evidence to support charges against him. Many of Aheramigua’s members have suffered this kind of prosecution after being consistently targeted by unfounded smear campaigns.  The defamation by members of the Security Forces continues to this day in the territories where the association works.

In 2014, Aheramigua’s members, Jeimy Rodriguez and Victor Trujillo were under intense surveillance, were threated in El Bagre, and left the area under PBI’s protection.  Returning is still not an option, and they spent several months in Ecuador with the help of Frontline Defenders.[1] They are both back in Colombia, but have not been able to return to El Bagre.

During the paramilitary takeover of El Bagre in 2016, several of Aheramigua’s members had to leave the area and could not return because there were no genuine security measures.[2]  The members in Puerto Claver and Puerto Lopez have been verbally attacked and directly threatened by the illegal groups who took control of the areas.  The members receive direct threats, as well as being threatened in leaflets.

All of Aheramigua’s members are from the region.  The danger has affected their families considerably and many of them have had to move to Medellin for their own security.

List of Threats

  • 5 November 2010: Mauricio Sanchez, president of Aheramigua, was detained in El Bagre municipality, for twelve hours. After having witnessed an operation by Special Energy and Highways Battalion no.5, the Judicial Police first took him to the installations of the Junin Battalion of Monteria, and then to another Battalion, without telling him where they were taking him (he subsequently found out that it was Infantry Battalion No.34 Rifles, in Caucasia municipality). They had to give all their personal details and make declarations, and were only allowed to leave after 12 hours. It is worrying that under Colombian law and the right to due process, the declarations should be taken on the scene of the incident where they could also have corroborated his judicial record if necessary.[3]
  • 29 November 2010: attempted killing of Mauricio Sanchez, president of Aheramigua, in El Bagre, by two men on a motorcycle who tried to shoot him; fortunately the gun did not go off, and Mauricio Sanchez was able to escape.[4]
  • May 2014: intimidation and death threat against Jeimy Rodriguez and Victor Trujillo, members of Aheramigua from El Bagre. They were forced to leave the area under PBI protection. Unable to return, they remained in Ecuador for several months with the help of Frontline Defenders.[5]
  • December 2014: the Inspector General’s Office in Magangue (Bolivar) issued an order for the mayor of Montecristo, Richard Deivis Rios Amaris, to protect all of Aheramigua’s members, but this has not happened.
  • 10 November 2015: surveillance by unknown people who were taking photographs of Aheramigua’s office in Medellin.[6]
  • 7 March 2016: murder of William Castillo, treasurer for Aheramigua. Castillo had previously been detained in El Bagre on 26 March 2014.
  • 11 May 2016: there was an attempt to break into the office, to ram open the door, the supply room was burgled and doors and windows were broken.[7]

Footnotes:

[1] Protection International: Death threats against human rights defender Ms Yeimy Rodríguez, 2 May 2016
[2] El Espectador: El Bagre, epicentro de ataques a defensores de derechos humanos, 12 July 2016
[3] Prensa Rural: Detención ilegal de Mauricio Sánchez, presidente de AHERAMIGUA, 20 November 2010
[4] Prensa Rural: Intento de asesinato contra Mauricio Sánchez, presidente de la Asociación de Hermandades Agroecológicas y Mineras de Guamocó, 29 November 2010
[5] Prensa Rural: Preocupante intimidación contra la defensora de derechos humanos Yeimy Rodríguez, 22 May 2014
[6] Prensa Rural: Sede de Aheramigua en Medellín asediada por desconocidos, 4 December 2015
[7] Prensa Rural: Asaltada oficina de Aheramigua en Medellín, 12 May 2016