The Unit for the Search for Missing Persons -UBPD-, recovered 5 bodies buried in a collective grave in a cemetery located in the rural area of the municipality of San Luis de Palenque, Casanare.
According to the humanitarian and extrajudicial investigation of the UBPD, the bodies of the people found correspond to members of armed groups that were present in this area of the country and who, within the framework of the armed conflict, died in the middle of a confrontation over the dispute over the territory, on March 30, 1998.
These humanitarian actions carried out by the Search Unit are part of the Regional Search Plan for Sabanas del Sur de Casanare, which has been built in a participatory manner with the organizations and whose sites of forensic interest are part of the National Registry of Graves, Cemeteries Illegal and Graves, which includes the community cemetery where the discovery was made.
The coordinator of the Yopal territorial team, Sonia Rodríguez, assured that this humanitarian action represents relief for families who at this time do not know about the fate of their missing loved ones. She also highlighted that this finding confirms the extrajudicial and humanitarian mission of the entity, regardless of the circumstances in which the disappearances occurred.
Participation of search families.
The investigation carried out by the UBPD showed that San Luis de Palenque was characterized by the co-optation of its territory by the extinct FARC in the eighties, which led to a subsequent withdrawal towards the mid and late nineties as a consequence of the paramilitary entry into the area influenced by groups based in the departments of Meta, Arauca and Casanare. This situation generated armed confrontation, confrontations, forced disappearances, dispossession and abandonment of land, among other acts of violence.
In the lines of humanitarian investigation, the UBPD has identified that, in this region of Casanare, a large number of disappearances in the framework of the armed conflict are associated with bodies of combatants arranged in the region, many of whom came from other regions. of the department, and even, of other zones of the country.
The case of *Alexander
Among the victims, presumably is the body of *Alexander, a young farmer who was 23 years old at the time of the events and who apparently died in the midst of hostilities between two armed groups.
*Alexander’s disappearance occurred in the savannah region of southern Casanare, particularly in the municipality of San Luis de Palenque. Geographically it has a strategic position, as it is irrigated by the Meta River and has Vichada as an adjoining department; This aspect allowed the installation of important communication corridors that were used by illegal armed groups.
The search request was submitted by one of the victim’s brothers in January 2022. According to the account of the person seeking, *Alexander was living in the municipality of San Luis de Palenque, doing farm work with his family. , after having provided military service and leaving the institution early due to an accident.
In March 1998, *Alexander told his loved ones that he was going to work with a retired Army sergeant, for which reason he moved to Yopal. A short time later, his family lost all contact and communication with him.
Days later, and after the search efforts had been made by the *Alexander family, a member of an armed group told them that he had died along with 4 other people, in the middle of a confrontation between irregular groups on March 30, 1998. The bodies were buried in a grave in the village cemetery.
*Luis, brother of *Alexander, assured that this action carried out by the Search Unit represents a relief for his family after more than two decades of uncertainty.
“I would like to thank you very much for taking us into account, this is a very good issue, this work that you are doing for us is very important. The invitation is also made to all those who are victims and have their relatives disappeared to look for this entity that is giving us support, so that they also collaborate with them, “said *Alexander’s brother.
The bodies recovered by the Search Unit were handed over to Legal Medicine for their respective identification.
Finally, the department of Casanare has built a universe of 1,973 disappeared persons in context and due to the armed conflict.
Source: Unit for the Search for Missing Persons -UBPD-