Armed men have raped at least three women in the northwest of Colombia, forcing their families to flee their homes, local media reported on Friday.
The three families were allegedly forced to leave the neighborhood of La Esmeralda in the town of Apartado due to escalating violence, which began last Friday when armed men broke into their their homes, raped three and sexually assaulted one more. The men reportedly threatened to kill the victims if they spoke out about the crimes.
“Four men carrying handguns and wearing camouflage trousers, army boots and balaclavas, entered the houses of four families and committed acts of sexual violence against four women. Three were allegedly raped and another women was the victim of a violent attempted rape,” the Ombudsman’s Office was quoted in newspaper El Colombiano.
According to the same newspaper, the director of the victims’ reparation unit, Angela Hernandez, also confirmed that three women had suffered sexual abuse and added that the men “abused [the women] in front of their children.”
Violence against the families reportedly escalated on Tuesday after allegations of rape were made by the families. The ombudsman confirmed that the men arrived at the houses at 10.30AM armed with machetes, knives, sticks and gasoline.
The police accompanied the victims as they packed up some of their belongings and left their homes and are said to be too scared to return.
Carolina Banguero, a local government representative, told media that authorities have not found the perpetrators, but both the families who stayed and the families who fled are being protected.
- Por violaciones se fueron tres familias de Apartadó (El Colombiano)
- Tres familias huyen por ataque sexual en Apartadó (Antioquia) (El Tiempo)