The siege of el Billar

Henry Caliche


Henry Caliche

Ex-combatant of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia -FARC-EP-. Joined at the age of 16, remained in the group for 12 years.

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This is a small village called Animas del Caguan and Peñas Coloradas del Caguan, on the Caguan River.

This river here is the Billar River.

This area was totally taken by the guerrilla, it was all about growing coca plants. The army never came around. This area was abandoned by the State.

The combat started here, in that small yellow house, and it spread approximately 6 kilometers outward. The army was retreating and the guerrilla was trying to surround them. Day in and day out they fought. I would say there were about 225 soldiers.

They got to the edge of a lagoon; they could not retreat anymore. There is a canal there which is formed by the Billar River. It’s deep and dangerous so that’s where the combat ended. Some of the soldiers died, others were wounded and others, still holding their weapons, came forward and surrendered to the guerrilla.

Out of that army group, 27 soldiers made it to Peñas Coloradas and asked the town’s people for help. They were trying to avoid getting killed by the guerrilla. They handed over their weapons to the civilians, but the guerrilla caught them and took them as prisioners of war.

The lagoon was named “”death lagoon” after what had happened, because of all the soldiers who died there. The bodies rotted in the woods. To this day, there are skeletons to be found there, as well as broken pieces of their fire arms. Debris from this combat is still lying around, a reminder of what happened there.

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Vinyl paint on MDF

B015 - 0333


Combat Disappearance Drug trafficking Territorial control

Armed group: