A three-year-old boy is among 18 people of Christian peace communities massacred by ultra-right wing paramilitaries in Colombia in a number of recent attacks.
   The massacres began last Wednesday and were specifically directed at the communities. Paramilitaries from the Self Defence Forces of Uraba and Cordoba, led by warlord Carlos Castano, began in the small village of Arenales, where they dragged a man from his house and murdered him and his three- year-old son in front of the whole community The paramilitaries work by selecting communities in guerrilla areas of influence, sweep into them with a list of suspected left-wing sympathisers, then kill them, often torturing them beforehand, to show the villages what happens to those who collaborate with rebels.
   When they burst into the peace community of St Francis of Assisi, in the disputed jungle region of Choco in the west of the country, they tortured then killed three leaders of the community, and took nine others away with them, who were later found decapitated. Their bodies bore signs of brutal torture.

9:38am 15/4/99 / Catholic Herald


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