Communities report increased paramilitary presence in Cesar, northeast Colombia

Recent months have seen an increased repressive presence of paramilitary groups in the department of Cesar, northeast Colombia, in open view of police and army, according to local communities.

Some of the denounced cases are as follows:

Every two weeks, three 4x4s and four motorcycles carrying around 15 armed men enter the town of Chiriguaná and intimidate residents as police stand by passively.

There have been increased threats and extortion against representatives of social, labour and rural organisations.

When fearful residents and victims of extorsion have contacted authorities, they have subsequently received fresh threats for being ‘snitches’, as well as death threats made against family members.

Death threats have been made to residents involved in land disputes.

Unidentified armed men have been forcing people from vehicles and revising their identification cards.

In San Roque del Municipio de Curumaní, pamphlets were distributed by apparent paramilitary groups naming and threatening various local residents.

In addition, security forces personnel have reportedly accused land activists of being members of the guerrilla organisation the ELN.

Many of the reported cases have occurred in January 2018.

Source: Prensa Rural