Things have taken a ghastly turn amid the Coronavirus scare in Colombia, with a surge in the murder of rural activists. Death squads in Colombia are milking on this phase—as the local quarantine measures and lockdowns resulted in the mysterious deaths of three social leaders.

Colombia has been wading through prolonged periods of unrest, owing to the deadly ploys by armed groups that have been fighting for the territory. As per the recent statistics, Marco Rivadeneira, a high-profile activist, was slain in the southern Putumayo province, while Ángel Ovidio Quintero was shot dead in the western Antioquia region, and Ivo Humberto Bracamonte was gunned down on the eastern border with Venezuela.

Given how the pandemic is of prime concern, speculations are rife that the crisis leaves the lives of several activists at risk. This is largely because the current scenario has pushed the government to strategize and focus its resources on the outbreak while overlooking the general security protocols at the moment. Columbia currently has 277 confirmed cases, and three reported deaths as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The nationwide quarantine in the form of complete lockdown puts the activists at added risk, as “staying in one place makes them sitting targets” reports a media outlet. But, activists are left with little choice as moving around would out them at a higher risk of contracting infections.

The predicament has been further supported by The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The government body reported last week that a volley of armed groups continued to commit heinous crimes in Choco. Some of the reported cases included the beheading of three people, the execution of one and the murder of a pregnant woman. Despite the rising unrest and violence, President Ivan Duque’s muddled approach has infuriated Columbians to a large extent.

“Unfortunately, all critical issues in Colombia are being surpassed by the coronavirus health crisis,” said Gimena Sánchez, Andes director at the Washington Office on Latin America, a thinktank, as per a media outlet. “Coronavirus gives the Duque government more elements to excuse themselves from properly protecting social leaders and investigating cases of killings,” Sanchez added.

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