This Monday, February 21, a group of unidentified armed men kidnapped Guillermo Murcia Duarte, one of the candidates for the Special Constituency of Peace. The incident occurred in the Palmarito sector between the municipalities of Fortul and Tame, in Arauca.
Guillermo Murcia is a social leader recognized by the communities of the department of Arauca and is currently candidate for the House of Representatives for the Association of Antipersonnel Mine Survivors Fighting for Dignity and Peace (ASODIGPAZ), of which he is president. In turn, he is a survivor of an anti-personnel mine attack accident and for that same reason, he is part of the Colombian Campaign Against Mines.
As reported Snail News, Murcia was moving between the road that connects Fortul with Tame and was intercepted by several armed men in the village of Palmarito. At the moment it is unknown where the candidate was taken.
This information was confirmed by the UN, which also released a statement regarding the candidate’s kidnapping on its Twitter account. “We urge the release and respect for the life and integrity of Guillermo Murcia, Candidate for the Peace Seat of Arauca and President of ASODIGPAZ”, wrote the organization and assured that the security scheme of the social leader was also retained by the armed men.
For his part, Sergio Murcia, the candidate’s brother, delivered a message through Snail News. “I am addressing the armed group that has my brother, Guillermo Murcia, asking them to please respect his life and physical integrity for him and his work team,” the relative asserted, asking him to return safe and sound.
The Colombian Campaign Against Mines organization also provided a statement through a press release. “In the framework of his campaign activities for the special seat derived from the peace agreements, he was intercepted by armed men who took him to an unknown destination, at the time there is no information about his location (…) we request respect for the life and human dignity of Guillermo Murcia and we call for his immediate release”, reads the document issued by the organization.
Early warning from the Ombudsman’s Office
It should be remembered that on February 17, the Ombudsman’s Office issued early warning 004-22 due to risks in the electoral process due to the armed conflict in the country.
The alert is born from two major approaches that generate risk throughout the process. The first is related to the contingency derived from the conditions of threat and vulnerability, which are expressions of violence in the territories. The other source of risk highlighted by the Ombudsman is the rights and capabilities to political participation in the territories where these victimizing acts are manifested.
In total, 521 municipalities were monitored under these two premises, through the Early Warning System, of which the entity has identified 79 municipalities at extreme risk, 195 At High Risk, 186 at medium risk and 61 at low risk. Of the total of the zones warned, 32% correspond to zones of Special Transitory Elections of Peace (CITREP).
The entity pointed out that there are two specific characteristics for which this electoral process is high risk, one of them is for the bitter dispute in the regions by the political parties, seeking to consolidate their bases in the territories. According to the alert, “this brings with it a critical exercise in proselytism that will involve various spheres of society, potentially including local authorities.”
The other peculiarity of threat is the theme of the economic resources of the different campaigns. “This point of financing can have a special emphasis in areas where illegal economies related to illicit crops are concentrated, as well as legal economies. that move important capitals of gold, wood, oil and livestock, among others”, indicates alert 004-22.