Over 18,200 Colombians went missing during 2009, up from almost 15,700 in 2008, according to an annual report issued by Colombia’s forensics agency, Medicina Legal, Radio Santa Fe reported Wednesday.
The amount of people who went missing in 2009, 18,236, is a 14% increase on the 15,696 missing in 2008, and far higher than the 4,323 who went missing in 2007.
According to Medicina Legal’s director, Janeth Forero, the victims of disappearances are similar to the victims of other violent crimes in Colombia; “young people and men, in the majority of the cases.”
The 2009 report highlighted that the Colombian department of Antioquia is the most affected region of the country, reporting 3,976 disappearances in 2009, compared to only 471 in 2008.
Violent crimes, including homicides and forced displacements have soared in 2009 in nearly every major city in Colombia.
On Monday, it was reported that Colombia’s murder rate increased by 16% in 2009 from the previous year.