More than 150 of the 2,000 people who left their homes in north Colombia to protest against crop fumigation begin their return home, using buses provided by the provincial government, RCN Radio reported Friday.
Earlier in February the group marched into the city center of Taraza demanding that the government cease crop fumigation in their area.
The government has carried out negotiations with the farmers which have been “cordial,” and another 200 displaced will likely return home shortly while educational institutions inTaraza continue to serve as shelter for the remaining displaced.
At the time of displacement, it was unclear whether the movement was voluntary in protest to fumigation operations or whether, as the government claimed, FARC fronts operating in the area were responsible for provoking the exodus.
Now, according to a report Friday by Caracol Radio, a member of the FARC’s 18th Front who has demobilized has admitted partial responsibility for pressuring the farmers to leave their homes.
Jeison David Cardenas Jaramillo, aliases “Cucharo” and “Esneider,” is thought by authorities to be the leader of the 18th Front, which authorities claim generated last week’s mass displacement.
Meanwhile, displacement numbers in other parts of the region continue to rise, with a group of recently displaced arriving in the city of Valdivia.