More than half a century of armed conflict left in Colombia a few open wounds that, almost three years after the signing of the peace agreements between the State and the FARC, continue to not heal. The families of the victims of the massacre of Bojayá remember that night with the vertigo of horror and, today, also with a wish: to turn the page and close a chapter. Minutes before 23: 00, a cylinder bomb launched by a mortar of the guerrillas went through the roof of the church in which they sought shelter around 300 people. Outside, while the fighting raged between the so-called Block 58 of the insurgent group, and a column of the paramilitary. It was the 2 of may of 2002. The artifact caused in this town of the department of Chocó, close to the Pacific coast, the worst slaughter of the war. The deceased, whose balance ranged initially between 74 and 119 civilians, were buried in mass graves.

from the 11th of November, the relatives and survivors will have the opportunity to close a duel of more than 17 years. Will receive the remains of 72 bodies identified by forensic Medicine after that in 2017 the forensic institute the exhume and move to Medellin. And be able, finally, to give them burial. The announcement will be formalised this Wednesday in Bogotá, the headquarters of the High Commissioner of United Nations for Human Rights with the accompaniment of that agency, the office of the Prosecutor, the Victims Unit and the National Centre of Historical Memory. “What I’m living now as if it was the 2 of may”, says THE COUNTRY Yorlenis Mena Mosquera. That day he lost his mother and three brothers. “We could not bury our loved ones as we wanted to, and now, the 11 of November, it is as if it manages to pass the massacre.”


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His words, interrupted by a slight sob, remembering the horror after a long leaf blade that is a step to the end. Jose de la Cruz, representative of the committee of victims highlights the importance of the burial, it has always had in western culture and that was seized. “We see it in two fundamental lines. The first is to be able to achieve an id full of our family, to have the certainty that his remains are buried, to be able to go to lighting a candle, leave some flowers and have a conversation with them,” she explains. “A second element are the songs, the prayers for the souls of our family members will have an eternal rest and be able to truly be assured because they are no longer grieving, according to our beliefs,” he continues in reference to the tradition of the afro-colombian communities of the Chocó.

Claudia García, director of Legal Medicine, explained that thanks to methods of genetic analysis has been achieved the identification of 72 bodies and are still in phase of investigation other eight cases, which can match with eight or more people. The institute’s work were necessary to close the circle, despite providing data chilling. In the next few weeks the family will receive 101 chests, among which there are nine, not born.

Bojayá begins to recover in the midst of pain. But at the same time have to face up to new acts of violence. Of the Cross asks the authorities to “effective guarantees of non-repetition [of the conflict] for the real presence in the territory of illegal armed actors”. “We are facing daily in other communities. We have displaced communities, others have gone to other cities. We want to bury our loved ones, but also live a quiet life in the territory,” he says. “The other key issue is the guarantees of future for the survivors. Bojayá has identified the need of energy solutions and stable, economic stabilization and relocation of a community that is at high risk, the of Pogue”, continues in allusion to a town of 500 people who live under the threat of flooding.

around the town, beaten for decades by armed conflict, support peace agreements in the plebiscite in 2016 reached 96%. Its 12,000 inhabitants clung to the only exit possible, the disarmament of the guerrillas and the way to coexistence. “It gave us enough hope, we were up to eight months without the presence of actors in the territory. We could move, to hunt, to go fishing with peace of mind”, remember this spokesman of the committee of victims. “But with the rupture of the dialogue with the National Liberation Army (ELN), the provision that previously shown the groups came down and today we are in a situation truly difficult and risk,” he says. This is the cry of relief that launches today, the people in the middle of the implementation of the agreements, which in many rural areas is still difficult, slow, full of obstacles. A people who learned how to live with the horror, and that now you want to leave it behind forever.


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