Colombian police announced on Thursday a ‘hunting group’ against criminals threatening the return of land to conflict victims, following a string of murders against land restitution activists.
“The Colombian government offers a reward of up to [$109,000] for whoever gives information leading up to the capture or location of [these individuals]” said National Police Director, General Jose Roberto Leon Riaño.
The police released a list of ten criminals who were allegedly opposing the government’s plan to give back land to individuals and families displaced by Coolombia’s armed conflict. Among the names listed were members of the neo-paramilitary organization Los Urabeños, former members of the paramilitary AUC coalition and left-wing FARC rebels.
The police group, known as “Hunt those who dispossess land,” was already active as of Thursday and “specialized in investigation and intelligence,” according to Riaño.
Colombia’s Victims’ and Land Restitution Law took effect in January 2012. The law seeks in part to give land rights to millions of Colombians displaced by armed conflict. Some NGOs have criticized the law for containing “bureaucratic” hurdles which have effectively prevented thousands of displaced families from regaining their livelihoods. President Juan Manuel Santos has said the law is a “huge, huge undertaking” and asked conflict victims for “patience.”
- Policía crea grupo ‘caza despojadores de tierras’ (Vanguardia Liberal)