EL TIEMPO, September 10, 2021

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

The Public Defender complains that the ELN, Clan del Golfo, and three local gangs are threatening the communities.

The violent actions against the civilian population and the vendettas among five illegal groups, including three gangs of full-blooded narcos, are maintaining Chocó as one of the most active settings of the war in this country.

That is the substance of an alert issued by the Public Defender. ELTIEMPO.COM has seen the alert, which makes clear that the effects of the peace with the FARC, five years later, have yet to be seen in this province.

The violence of the ELN and the “Clan del Golfo” is the principal threat to the security of the people that live in Chocó. But the three gangs that are less visible, “Los Chacales” (“The Jackals”), in Bahía Solano, and the so-called “Colombianos”, and “Mexicanos”, in Quibdó, are fighting each other for the local control of the small-scale drug trafficking and the illegal routes, and they are also fighting over the management of the extortion.

In Chocó, according to data from the Public Defender’s Office, 20 social leaders and 15 demobilized former FARC guerrillas were murdered in 2020. Six of those last were killed on the streets of Quibdó.

“The situation in the province is critical and we are going back to events of massive victimization like those that occurred 15 years ago,” says the Public Defender, Carlos Camargo.

This year, the province registered 15 events of forced displacement in communities in nine municipalities (11 indigenous communities and 4 Afro-Colombian communities were affected.). An average of nine families had to leave their property every single day.

Meanwhile there is also an increase in the strategy of forced confinement. In 2021, 94 cases were reported. The majority of people affected are members of the indigenous communities (some 6,600 families). The worst situation is affecting the indigenous communities of Playa Linda and Puerto Galve.

The authorities claim that the increase in killings in the urban part of Quibdó, the provincial capital, is tied up with the ELN plan to consolidate an urban front. To do that, the guerrillas are co-opting local criminals, either with threats or with money.

In the middle of last August, they reactivated the blood feud between the ELN and the Clan del Golfo. There had been nearly three years of truce, in which they had divided up the areas and routes for the drug traffic. Battles and murders by hit men are the expression of the new situation.

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