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Indigenous Christian Musician, Husband Killed in Northern Colombia

April 3, 2013 by Open Doors in General

Map of Sierra Nevada De Santa Marta, Colombia.

A Colombian couple, Elizabeth Chaparro, 31, and her husband, Eliud Landero, 33, were gunned down by assassins in their home on March 7. Their names were allegedly on a hit list kept by an anti-Christian militia.

Elizabeth Chaparro lived with her family on the Arhuaco reservation until 2006 when indigenous authorities hired guerrillas to uproot Christian converts because of their faith in Christ and rejection of the traditional tribal religion. Guerrillas laid siege to the church on the reservation, and denied the congregation food and water for three days. Chapparo’s family, along with 45 other families, fled to Valledupar, the capital of Cesar department. The family resettled in Valledupar, a city of more than 400,000 people, in the shadow of Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Mountains. Eliud Landero, a lay pastor, worked long hours as a motorcycle taxi driver to support his family.

After the displacement of the Christians from the Arhuaco reservation, the leaders of a non-Christian indigenous group lobbied government agencies to deny the Christians aid. The indigenous leaders claimed that the 46 relocated families had given up their rights and identity as Arhuaco by leaving the tribal religion. Shortly thereafter, an armed group, believed to be acting under orders of tribal leaders, began to threaten indigenous Christians in Valledupar. Most of the families, Chaparro’s included, were reportedly named on a hit list.

On the night of March 7, assassins invaded Elizabeth and Eliud’s home and fatally shooting the couple. Elizabeth’s brother, Haider, fled the scene in terror after witnessing the attack. The couple’s two sons, Estevan David, 5, and Luis Daniel, 3, were in the home during the double homicide, but were not physically harmed. Elizabeth Chaparro, born an indigenous Arhuaco, and Eliud Landero, who was not of indigenous descent, were members of the Pentecostal United Church of Colombia. Elizabeth was a church musician who had recorded three Christian music albums with her sister. The duo often sang publicly and shared the gospel among the Arhuaco people.

Father, we thank You for the faithful lives of Chaparro and Landero and ask for Your protection, strength and courage for their children and other family members, as well as for those in the greater Christian Arhuaco community whose remain in danger. We pray especially for the Torres family. Thank You for their miraculous rescue that night in December and we pray continued protection as they lead their people. As the Christian Arhuaco people flee once again in the wake of these murders, we pray that You would guide their steps, protect them, and provide for their needs. In the name of Jesus who is full of compassion, Amen. 

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