The threats arrived in October by Whatsapp messages and pamphlets that were circulated around the northern Colombian town of Segovia. They placed a death sentence on every one of the 1,600 workers of Grupo Damasa, the business that operates the town’s richest gold mines, if the mining company did not pay a gold “tax.”
“Stop working or we will stop you. We’re not playing,” they read.
Within two months, four of the company’s miners were dead; two more had been shot; and one of its processing mills was attacked with a grenade. But still, Grupo Damasa’s owner would not pay off the paramilitary group behind the extortion racket.