The secretary of the local government in Cauca, Alvaro Grijalba Gomez, confirmed the resolution on Tuesday, adding that the military garrison will be stationed between the villages of Pitayo and Tacueyo and will operate primarily in the eastern and northeastern regions of the department, El Pais reported.
According to Grijalba, a commission from the Ministry of Defense is due in the coming days to assess the area where the battalion will be situated in order to determine if the current local infrastructure is sufficient to accommodate it.
Cauca is one of the departments that has been historically hit hardest by Colombia’s internal conflict due to the strong presence of the FARC, ELN and several drug trafficking gangs.
In addition to the myriad of actors in the region, “Cauca is one of the few areas where FARC are still in a traditional insurgency,” meaning they maintain the capability to go on the offensive against Colombia’s armed forces, according to analyst Jeremy McDermott from InSight Crime.
The installation of the second High Mountain Battalion is the result of a project devised seven years ago under the presidency of Alvaro Uribe.