Colombia’s Ombudsman has warned that fighting between armed groups is displacing hundreds of villagers in the western Choco department.
“[My report] informed the competent authorities of the dynamics of the armed conflict in the Lower, Middle Alto Baudo of Choco, in which was described the territorial dispute between “Los Urabeños” and “Los Rastrojos,” affecting the fundamental rights of indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities living in the territory,” said the Ombudsman, reported local media.
The turf war between the Rastrojos and the Urabeños has led to raids on village, restriction of movement and even injuries to people caught up on gun battles.
The Rastrojos are a powerful drug trafficking organization, while the Urabeños are a neo-paramilitary group also involved in drug trafficking. The violence between them has so far forced at least 105 families from their homes says the Ombudsman.
Many of the people being forced to move by the violence are indigenous or Afro-Colombian people who are being forced from their ancestral territories.