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Illegal Colombian Cartles Killing People Who Violate Coronavirus Lockdown Restrictions

Human Rights Watch said its investigation found illegal armed groups are imposing rules to halt the spread of COVID-19 in at least 11 of Colombia's 32 states. 

In at least five, they are using violence to exert control. 

The warnings arrive to citizens through paper pamphlets or WhatsApp messages.

At least nine people have been assassinated in recent months for either refusing to abide by the restrictions or actively opposing them.

One man, community leader Edison Leon, was killed in June after sending a letter alerting local authorities that members of a group called 'La Mafia' were forcing residents to staff a health checkpoint in the south-western region of Putumayo.

'I am not willing to continue sending my people to death,' he wrote. Days later he was killed.

Armed groups have introduced their own bloody system of “justice” and quarantine in regions where infection rates are out of control.

The worrying news was revealed by experts from the campaign group Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The brutal attacks come as Covid-19 cases have been surging across the South American country after a relatively low figures at the start of the pandemic.

As of Wednesday, there were 165,169 confirmed cases in Colombia and 5,814 deaths.

Many of the rural areas where the groups operate do not have hospitals equipped with ventilators to treat those who become severely ill.

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