On Monday, the Colombian Ombudsman’s Office denounced that over 1,440 families living in the Arauca department remain confined due to the risk posed by armed clashes between paramilitary gangs.
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"These people are in a widespread fear and anxiety state for not being able to leave their homes and search for water and food supplies, medical assistance or medicines,” Ombudsman Carlos Camargo lamented.
This situation poses a serious risk to the life of these citizens, especially those living in the Lejanias, Normandia, El Progreso, La Esmeralda, and El Palon towns, where armed clashes are deadlier.
“Parents even fear sending their children to schools,” the Ombudsman highlighted and suggested that the Arauca department’s governorship allocate resources for providing these families with humanitarian assistance.
Camargo called the paramilitary groups to respect the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and not to affect the civilian population. “These groups should show gestures of peace for the dialogue process President Gustavo Petro’s administration has been promoting,” he insisted.
In 2022, the gangs’ violence killed 352 people and made 81 citizens disappear in the Arauca department. On Thursday, the Colombian Army found eleven bodies in the areas where clashes between paramilitary groups took place.
“We extend our condolences to the families of the deceased and offer our humanitarian assistance to find the disappeared people,” Camargo said, stressing the need to achieve peace.