Colombia’s Defense Ministry has reported the implementation of increased security measures for the October elections, following identification of the municipalities with the greatest risk for candidates.
Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera said that in the past two months 53 integrated regional centers have been activated and eight visits made to address various populations, with the goal of mapping out high-risk areas regarding electoral security. The minister said that 58 municipalities of the country have been identified as posing a high security risk for candidates in October’s elections.
Officials identified the highest risk areas using regional statistics from previous years, categorizing areas as high, medium and low risk, and began to implement security protocols for the areas identified as high risk, in order to guarantee a secure and functionally democratic electoral process.
“These are protection schemes, security protocols and much more intense coordination and information-sharing measures, in which we request of the candidates and political actors that they inform police authorities of their travels so that they can dispatch adequate protection measures,” said Rivera, W Radio reported Thursday.
Violence by illegal armed groups threatens to mar the elections both for candidates and civilian voters. In February, the government reported that armed groups could disrupt the elections in as much as one third of the country.
This past Monday, alleged FARC members killed two mayoral candidates in Campamento, Antioquia, where the victims were campaigning, and a week earlier, a mayor candidate and a council candidate were killed in the town of El Bagre, also in Antioquia.