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Facebook 'Hit List' Claimed Lives of Three Colombian Teens So Far

screenshot of facebookFollowing the shooting of two teenagers in Puerto Asís, Colombia, an anonymous "hit list" was posted to Facebook detailing the names of 69 young Colombian men, including those murdered just two days prior. Sixteen-year-old Diego Ferney Jaramillo and 17-year-old Eibart Alejandro Ruiz Muñoz were killed on a motorcycle while traveling between Puerto Asís and Puerto Caicedo on August 15th; the list of 69 men appeared on Facebook on the 17th, and was shortly followed by another list of 31 young women. Although the local police claim that they initially thought the list was a hoax, another person on the first list, 19-year-old Norbey Alexánder Vargas, was killed on August 20th, a mere three days later. Another teen, Juan Pablo Zambrano Anacona, 16, was injured after pursuing Vargas's attackers.

According to CNN, Colombian officials are not sure who posted the list, or why it contains the names that it does. Officials noted that "a criminal gang known as Los Rastrojos and a Marxist guerrilla group called the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia operate in the area." But, according to Colombian newspaper El Espacio, the murdered teens were labeled in the postings as gang members and drug dealers. Volmar Perez Ortiz, the Federal Defender of the Republic, claimed that Los Rastrojos is actively "executing violent actions, resolving community conflicts, imposing living and conduct norms, intimidating and meting punishment against... drug sellers and consumers, sex workers, people with criminal and unlawful histories and threatening social leaders, business people, taxi drivers and motorcycle taxi drivers" in Puerto Asís. The hit list gave the named persons three days to leave the town, or otherwise face death.

CNN notes that there has been a Twitter outcry from residents, some of whom have sent their children out of town in a panic. Some have even posted death counts as high as 20. It's unknown whether those unsubstantiated deaths were not reported by the media, were not included in the Facebook lists, or were simply fabricated.

We can only recall Ciudad Juárez, the crime-riddled city set on the Mexican border across from El Paso, Texas, and its infamous hit lists of police officers "who still don't believe." Hit lists and the cleansing of "unwanted" populations are always troubling, but even more so now that they can be exposed using massive social networks -- quickly spreading fear as a result. Concerns have been mounting as citizens increasingly suspect that officials aren't investigating thoroughly. Twitter user jesusmhenriquez, who has claimed that 20 have been killed, wrote on August 22nd: "Impunity, corruption, drug trafficking, smuggling, guerrillas, paramilitaries, terrorism, political chicanery, and massacres, that is Colombia."

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