Buenaventura homicides, disappearances, displacement skyrocketing: Ombudsman

(Photo: Colombia Mas Que Biodiversidad)

There have been dozens of murders, eight disappearances and hundreds displaced in the unfolding civil unrest in the Pacific port city of Buenaventura in Colombia’s southwest, according to Colombia’s highest governmental human rights office.

Colombia’s Ombudsman, Jorge Armando Otalora, said that since January 1, there have been 87 homicides, eight people had disappeared and 1086 people had been displaced, local media reported Saturday morning.

Turf War

The port-city of Buenaventura lies on Colombia’s Pacific coast and has been the stage of an increasingly aggressive turf war between criminal gangs fighting for control of illegal drug trafficking routes.

Colombia’s Defense Ministry last week promised more troops to contain the exacerbated human rights crisis in the coastal city of Buenaventura.

The UN made a visit to the city in November 2013 and called on the Colombian government to take action to contain devastating levels of violence which led to a rising homicide rate and the forced displacement of thousands of individuals.

MORE: UN urges Colombia to attend security crisis in Pacific port city

Social solutions needed

Since that time however there has been little improvement, if any, with locals calling for the government to focus more attention on social and economic needs of  a city in which, according to the Afro-Colombian Solidarity Network, 80% live below the poverty.

MORE: Government still lacking solution for Buenaventura humanitarian crisis

The recent protests have provoked a reaction from the Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos who last week released a statement confirming a set of proposals to increase increase available housing and improve education and access to healthcare.

Buenaventura, Valle del Cauca


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