The Crisis Is Forced By Forced Displacement In Nariño, Southwest Of Colombia

Some 1,600 people had to leave their homes in rural areas of Roberto Payán in the Colombian department of Nariño (southwest) in recent weeks, due to clashes between illegal armed groups, the local government confirmed this Sunday to Efe. That figure adds up to around 4,000 displaced people from municipalities such as Tumaco and Olaya Herrera, also located on the Pacific coast of Nariño, where since last November the armed conflict has intensified, with constant clashes between illegal armed groups, Roberto’s mayor told Efe Payán, Juan Carlos Sinisterra. “This has generated a humanitarian crisis that has exceeded the capacity of the municipality to respond. Due to the large amount of population that is in the middle of the confrontation, since I am mayor I will not be able to deal with the situation alone,” Sinisterra told the detail that in the last three months there have been five major displacements. Data from the Mayor’s Office indicate that due to the violence since November, about 400 families have arrived in Roberto Payán, representing more than 1,600 people. The most recent displacements were reported this week. Today, several families arrived from the Guacuco Patía area and another 35 arrived on Friday from the Negrito area, where three people died last Tuesday victims of an antipersonnel mine, the mayor confirmed. “As I warn, the situation is very serious in Roberto Payán, but the problem extends throughout the Pacific coast of Nariñense, where the population is the victim of groups that consider this territory strategic,” Sinisterra added. EMERGENCY IN NARIÑO A similar situation is experienced in other municipalities of Nariño, such as Tumaco, where in mid-January more than 3,300 people left their homes in rural areas due to clashes between illegal armed groups. Although the local administration has organized the return of the population to their homes with the accompaniment of the public force, the tension persists. Nariño, bordering with Ecuador and one of the most hectares of coca planting in the country, is a strategic corridor for the exit of cocaine into the Pacific. That is why there is a presence of gangs dedicated to drug trafficking and dissent of the demobilized guerrilla of the FARC, on which there is no precise number of members. Illegal armed groups often confront each other or the authorities for territorial control of the areas where coca is grown and of the routes to take cocaine to the Pacific, which causes the displacement of peasants or even deaths. RETURN MEASURES In the midst of the crisis, the director of the State Unit for Victims, Ramón Rodríguez, announced this week lines of intervention in the department focused on responding to humanitarian emergencies, the creation of social infrastructure and actions for return of displaced. In that plan priority was given to the municipalities of Barbacoas, El Charco, La Tola, Magüí Payán, Mosquera, Olaya Herrera, Francisco Pizarro, Ricaurte, Roberto Payán, Santa Bárbara and San Andrés de Tumaco, where some 162,000 victims of the conflict are registered . The Office of the Ombudsman of Colombia estimates that between January and October of last year 15,140 people were displaced in eight departments as a result of the conflict. In that period, the department most hit was that of Nariño, where 5,423 people from 2,028 families were forcibly displaced. According to a report by the UN Verification Mission on the implementation of the peace agreement with the FARC, signed in 2016, the presence of illegal armed groups in some areas, such as Tumaco, “continues to have devastating consequences, such as forced recruitment of minors. , homicides, displacements, confinements and attacks and threats against authorities and ethnic leaders. ”