Farc Commander Assassinated in Colombia

Wilson Saavedra became the first front commander of the extinct Farc assassinated since the signing of peace. He left five children and was buying a birthday cake for one of them when he was shot. He spent more than 30 years in the guerrilla ranks.

The Farc party reported that Wilson Saavedra, who became commander of the 21st Front of the defunct guerrilla group and member of the Alfonso Cano Bloc Staff, was assassinated on Tuesday. He was also linked to the process of reincorporation as leader of the territorial space of Marquetalia, in the south of Tolima, the historical cradle of the guerrillas.

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Saavedra had left Marquetalia, Tolima, and was living with 31 ex-combatants and his family on a farm leased in El Valle, 35 minutes by car from Tuluá, where he was carrying out agrarian projects. That group of ex-guerrillas had been the victim of threatening calls, in which they were told they knew where they lived and with whom. Saavedra had left at 12:30 noon this Tuesday, after lunch, to buy a cake in Tuluá, because it was his son’s birthday. Traveling with a companion, they left their car in an auto shop for maintenance. His companion went to attend to an agricultural project and he went to make the purchase for his little one. At about 3 o’clock in the afternoon he was shot, apparently by men moving on a motorbike. He left five children orphaned, three of them under 6 years old. The youngest had been born after the signing of peace. Saavedra was a radio operator and nurse for the Farc for 30 years. He was close to Pablo Catatumbo and Alfonso Cano and became commander of the Víctor Saavedra column and then, towards the end of the conflict with the Farc, he was put in charge of the Frente 21 (a division of Farc’s central block).

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He was also in Havana, in the negotiations, as auxiliary of the guerrillas’ technical commission. “People interested in war do exist, yes there are enemies of peace, but they are a minority, I believe that the majority of the Colombian people are for peace,” Saavedra told the local media at the end of 2016, when the agreement of Havana was being finalized. “What is most needed are security guarantees for the ex-combatants, and especially for the group that was with Wilson in the Valley,” Victoria Sandino told SEMANA. With the death of Saavedra, there are now 131 ex-combatants that have been killed since the signing of the peace agreement. However, it would be the first murder of a head commander, that is, a high profile within the organization chart of the extinct guerrilla. The Special Investigation Unit of the Prosecutor’s Office has clarified the circumstances of 61 murders of ex-combatants. In addition they have identified in 48 of these acts criminal structures that are behind the homicides: dissension in 22 cases, the Gulf Clan in 9; the ELN in 7; the EPL in 5. The Special Investigation Unit knows of 32 actions against relatives of ex-combatants of the Farc.


Source URL: Semana

Translated by:EF/JRE

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