Around twenty people have died in violent disputes between dissidents of the FARC (The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and guerrillas from the National Liberation Army (ELN) in three municipalities of the Colombian department of Arauca. The wave of violence took place this weekend in the towns of Tame, Fortul, Saravena and Arauquita, on the border with Venezuela, as reported by the Ombudsman’s Office on Monday.
Although the death toll is not confirmed, the governor of Arauca, Alejandro Navas Ramos, talks about 22 deceased. “It seems that a pact that they had between them to not aggress was broken, but on the other side of the border, everything indicates that the ELN attacked a FARC camp and there were deaths; some bodies were passed to this side of the border “, has indicated. The governor indicates that the reason for the dispute is the “control of illicit economies.”RELATED
For his part, Juan Carlos Villate, a personero –public official who deals with human rights issues in the communities– from Tame, told the local station W Radio that the deaths occurred in the first two days of the year, that there are 24 murdered and that “surely the figure could rise to 50 this Monday.” “We have 24 dead, some are known as middle commanders of the Farc, the ELN, others are sympathizers, militiamen or the civilian population that has been accused of being a militant or political leader of an organization that was declared a military objective,” he said.
The mayor of Arauquita, Etelivar Torres, reported Sunday that a communication he had with the governor of Arauca spoke of “17 people killed.”
Villate has said that the situation is due to a conflict between the ELN and the tenth front of the FARC dissidents, “who have openly declared war.”
“It all begins with ELN operations in the populated centers detaining people, some murdering them and the bodies have been appearing little by little,” said the official.
On the situation in Arauca, the Ombudsman has said that, according to information compiled by its regional office, in the “last hours there have been homicides, threats, illegal detentions, massive displacements and risk of forced displacement in border municipalities, specifically in Tame, Fortul, Saravena and Arauquita.”
The Office in Colombia of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has urged through Twitter to respect International Humanitarian Law and protect the civilian population and activate contingency plans.
The UN office has also asked to comply with the recommendations of the Ombudsman’s Office in which it warned of the imminent risk faced by more than 69,000 civil society people, including specially protected populations such as indigenous people, by the recent escalation of violence.