In the first two months of 2013 alone, 114 people disappeared from Colombia’s third largest city of Cali, representing a 8% increase in disappearances over the same period in 2012, reported the Cali Ombudsman’s office on Sunday.
Out of the 114 persons listed as disappeared between January 1 and March 8, 45 were found alive and a further five were found dead. The rest were still missing, reported the forensics office.
According to the Cali Ombudsman’s office, the majority disappeared upon leaving their houses, workplace or educational institution. The ombudsman said criminals were behind a large amount of the disappearances, with some victims ending up in the hands of criminal networks involved in people trafficking.
Cali has the third largest number of disappearances throughout the first two months of 2013, behind the country’s second largest city of Medellin, with 151 cases, and the country’s capital of Bogota with an astonishing 590 cases.
In 2012, 762 disappearances were reported in Cali, a 20% increase over the 612 cases reported in 2011.
Cali, the capital of the southwestern Valle del Cauca department, has been suffering from increased rates of violent crime during the past few years, an increase largely attributed to fighting between criminal gangs. In 2011, 3,447 homicides were reported in Cali, according to the Valle del Cauca governor’s office. By 2012, this figure could have increased by some 8%.
MORE: Cali crime statistics
There has been a worrying upward trend in reports of disappearances recently. More than 7,500 Colombians disappeared in 2012, which is a 76% increase over 2011 and the highest number of disappearances reported in ten years.
- PRENSA. DIARIO EL PAÍS. AUMENTO DE CASOS DE DESAPARECIDOS EN CALI PREOCUPA A LAS AUTORIDADES. MARZO 10 DE 2013 (Personeria de Cali)
- Criminalidad, Análisis y Estadística – Gobernación del Valle del Cauca (2012)