Over 1,000 people displaced from homes in four days of violence

Colombia’s ombudsman office has reported that violent clashes in different parts of the country caused at least 1,000 people to flee their homes between 17 and 20 January.

In Magüi Payán, department of Nariño, at least 45 families consisting of 172 people were forcibly displaced on 17 January following confrontations between armed groups.

75 families, at least 375 people, were forced to flee their homes after paramilitaries murdered a community leader in San Pedrito de San José de Uré, department of Córdoba, on 18 January. Following the killing, residents were threatened by members of rival paramilitary groups the Caparrapos and Gaitanista Self-Defence Forces (AGC).

On 19 January in Antioquia, 149 families (383 people) had to leave their homes in rural communities in Cáceres and another 25 families (125 people) were displaced in Caucasia. The presence of armed groups was threatening at least 350 more families, according to the Ombudsman.

Three families were displaced on 20 January in Paya, department of Boyacá, following apparent clashes between security forces and guerrilla organisation the National Liberation Army (ELN).

Colombia has the highest number of internally displaced citizens in the world, with around six million people affected during the long-running armed conflict. Despite land restitution laws and clauses in the 2016 peace agreement, the vast majority remain displaced with little prospect of returning to their homes.

Source: El Espectador