Colombia’s Minister of the Interior and Justice German Vargas Lleras has warned that the country’s regional elections could be infiltrated by people who wish to impede the land restitution process.
Vargas Lleras has already opened investigations as to who could influence the upcoming October elections and thereby manipulate land restitution.
“We have indications that in many areas of the country where the focus of land restitution is going to be particularly more concentrated, there is an interest that can be directed towards the capture of these administrations in order to hinder the process of land restitution,” the minister said.
“We have taken this into account when setting the risk map, where we will particularly concentrate preventive action,” he continued.
Colombia currently holds the ignoble title of having the most displaced people in the world, with some 3.7 million internally displaced, surpassing countries like Sudan, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Government attempts to begin the land restitution process have been hampered by illegal armed groups. Land returned to Afro-Colombian families in March was torched just hours later by such criminal groups, while the government recently called for a quickening of the process if they are to meet the target of 1.23 million acres returned by the end of the year.