The homicide rate in Colombia’s north-west department Cordoba continues to increase, with 307 murders reported between January and June this year.
According to national police data presented in a study by the Cordoba regional government, 2010 has seen an increase in the homicide rate in the department, which has risen every year since 2005.
In 2005 homicides reached 158, less than the total reported in the first four months of 2010. 282 homicides were reported in the first six months of 2008, out of a total of 512 throughout the whole year. 297 homicides were reported in the first six months of 2009, out of a total of 532 throughout the whole year.
The areas most affected are Montelibano, Monteria, Planeta Rica, La Apartada, Tierralta, Buenavista and Lorica.
There have been several incidents of violence reported in the Cordoba department recently, including a massacre of six men and a minor attributed to the criminal gang “Los Paises” in Buenavista.
The Colombian newspaper El Universal also reported that there has been fighting between illegal groups in the rural area Puerto Libertador.
According to El Universal, army operations have begun in the area and a military officials have flown around in a helicopter advising people not to rent their rooms to strangers and asking for full cooperation with the authorites to help curb the violence.
On July 11 Colombia’s Omdusman Volmar Perez expressed concern about death threats, massacres and forced displacement committed by illegal armed groups in the area, saying that their presence affects the basic rights to “life, liberty and personal integrity of farmers and indigenous [people] in the region.”