Posted by Adriaan Alsema on Jan 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Paramilitaries displace population near Venezuela border

Colombia news - paramilitaries

Paramilitary groups are terrorizing people living on the Venezuelan border, leading to an alarming cross-border displacement in the region, Colombia’s Ombudsman said.

According to Ombudsman Volmar Perez Ortiz, quoted on Friday by newspaper El Tiempo and again on Sunday by radio station Caracol, paramilitary groups Aguilas Negras and Los Rastrojos have been carrying out selective killings, massacres and attacks on the civilian population in the Norte de Santander department and to lesser extent in other border departments.

The aggression has led to the displacement of communities that live near Colombia’s border with Venezuela.

Without being able to say how many people have been displaced to the neighboring country, Perez warned that this new displacement is particularly dangerous because of minefields in the area and the vulnerability of the displaced population to forced recruitment and forced prostitution.

The departments bordering Venezuela have been considered dangerous for years as the border is crossed by both left-wing guerrillas and right-wing militias involved in drug trafficking.