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Colombia: Peasants Detain Soldiers After Villagers’ Arrest

Bill Weinberg

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On October 3, authorities invaded the pueblo of El Reposo, in Campamento municipality of Colombia’s Antioquia department, arresting three locals — including a minor and the president of the village Communal Action Junta — in connection with a supposed cocaine laboratory discovered nearby.

But El Reposo’s residents quickly turned the tables, rising up with their machetes, demanding that the three be liberated — and finally detaining 14 soldiers and six agents from the Fiscalía Technical Corps. The soldiers and agents were held for several hours in the village schoolhouse. The government of Antioquia and Colombia’s human rights ombudsman, the Defensoría del Pueblo, quickly mobilized a team to El Reposo to negotiate the release of the troops and agents. However, demands for the freedom of the three arrested locals remain outstanding, and the situation is still tense.

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