In the days leading up to the regional elections on October 29th, unidentified individuals killed Jaime Luis Diaz, a demobilized former FARC guerrilla who had signed the peace agreements with the Colombian state in 2016. Díaz was running as a candidate for city council in his hometown, Chalan, in the department of Sucre.
The politician was running for a seat on the council of this small town with only about 4,500 inhabitants and was affiliated with the Independent Social Alliance (ASI) party. With his assassination, the number of demobilized guerrillas and signatories of the peace agreement killed since 2016 has reached 400.
Death after demobilization
Jaime Luis Díaz’s lifeless body was discovered in the afternoon on a rural road connecting the Montebello and Desbarrancado areas in the rural zone of Chalán, Sucre. According to local authorities, Díaz was traveling from the town’s urban area to the Desbarrancado region to attend a political event related to his campaign.
The victim had multiple gunshot wounds, including a gunshot to the forehead, indicating a premeditated murder. According to local residents, the crime took place around 2 p.m. on Friday, October 27th, when Jaime Luis Díaz was ambushed by individuals hiding in the underbrush along the road. These individuals reportedly stopped his vehicle, forced him to exit the car, and then executed him with several gunshots.
The string of assassinations of former FARC guerrillas who demobilized under the peace agreement with the Colombian government continues. In response, Sucre Governor Héctor Olimpo Espinosa has condemned the events and called on the state to ensure the security and lives of political candidates.
“As a state, we must guarantee the integrity of those participating in the electoral debate, and it is very sad that this event today has left a family in mourning and has affected our democracy,” Governor Espinosa said.
“We strongly condemn the murder of peace signatory Jaime Luis Díaz, a candidate for Chalán City Council, Sucre, from the ASI party. Our solidarity is with his family. We call on the competent authorities to clarify this crime. Respecting the lives and integrity of individuals and communities is a fundamental condition for advancing on the path to peace,” stated the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace.
The Clan del Golfo, the primary suspect
The paramilitary group known as the Clan del Golfo is the main suspect in this crime, as reported by the police. “Police personnel are coordinating their deployment to the scene with support from the Marines to verify the information and carry out the necessary operations to clarify the motives surrounding this criminal act,” stated police sources in Sucre.
While the Institute for Development and Peace Studies (INDEPAZ) reports 400 peace signatories killed, the Common Component of the National Reintegration Council (CNR), an organization representing former FARC guerrillas who signed the peace agreement, noted that the number is higher. The CNR records 405 fatalities, including Cenober Aguiar Mayor, another demobilized individual, who was killed in Tolima during the electoral process on the same day.