Drummond’s union leader attacked by gunmen in Colombia

Drummond’s El Descanso mine in Colombia. (Image courtesy of Drummond Company).

Ricardo Rojas, the vice president of the union that operates at Drummond’s coal mine in Colombia, survived a gun attack perpetrated against him by two unknown men.

The incident took place on Saturday when Rojas was going to the community of Los Arrayanes from the Ocaña municipality in the northeastern department of Norte de Santander.

It is not uncommon for union leaders in the region to receive threats by criminal organizations

According to the local police, the gunmen were riding a motorbike and they shot several times targeting Rojas’ vehicle. However, the union leader and a second person in his car escaped unharmed.

Talking to local radio La FM, the chief of the Norte de Santander police, Colonel Fabián Ospina, said authorities are having a hard time figuring out who were the attackers because the area is besieged by a number of armed groups such as the National Liberation Army or ELN, a gang called Los Pelusos, and dissidents from the Colombian Armed Revolutionary Forces or FARC.

Ospina also said that Rojas presented a complaint before the National Prosecutors Office so that investigations can begin.

The union leader works at the El Descanso open-pit coal mine, located near the town of La Loma in the neighbouring Cesar department. The operation employs 4,000 people, is responsible for 15% of Colombia’s coal output and has estimated reserves of 60 million tonnes of coal.