Mineworkers’ Leader, Rafael Tobón, Gunned Down in Antioquía, Colombia
The ICEM condemns the cowardly assassination of Colombian mineworkers’ leader Rafael Tobón Zea on 26 July. Tobón was shot three times and killed by paramilitaries near his home in the city of Segovia, Antioquía department, about 220 kilometres north of Medellín.
Rafael Tobón, 40, was a leader of the metal and mineworkers’ union Sintramienegética, where he was a founding member of that union at Frontino Gold Mines Ltd. He worked there for 15 years and was still assisting discharged miners of Frontino after the Medellín-based company liquidated and its underground mines were bought last year by Modoro Resources Ltd. of Canada and Gran Colombia Gold S.A.
He was working in a smaller gold mine in Antioquía department and organising workers there when he was killed last week. Sintramienegética had reported threats to its leaders that were believed to be tied to the contested takeover of Frontino by Modora and Gran Colombia, and the sacking of all miners.
The ICEM calls on the government of Colombia and the authorities in Segovia and Antioquía state to spare no resource in apprehending and bringing to justice the perpetrators of this heinous crime. Let there be no impunity for the miscreants of Colombia who take the lives of trade unionists in cold blood.