According to a report published Friday by Colombian NGO the Institute for Development and Peace Studies (Indepaz), at least 6,000 narco-paramilitaries were active in Colombia in the first half of 2010.
The report states that in 314 municipalities, in 27 of Colombia’s 32 departments, paramilitaries who demobilized in 2006 around have regrouped and are now primarily focused on drug trafficking.
According to the report, these groups have support networks of between 7,400 and 12,000 members.
Indepaz, which expressed concern that illegal armed groups are reassembling, used data from the police, army, ombudsman and vice president’s office to compile their study.
The report states that the departments of Cesar, Cordoba and Bolivar are the most affected by narco-paramilitarism, which is present in at least 70% of the municipalities in those departments.
Indepaz director Camilo Gonzalez said that the “regrouping” phenomenon is a “source of concern” and “the situation of violence in the country is not going away. In the last year and a half it has been revived and the same thing has happened on the side of the guerrilla.”
Gonzalez said that while the narco-paramilitaries’ main focus is drug trafficking, activities such as extortion are also common. Indepaz estimates that 45% of Colombian municipalities have an illegal armed presence, whether guerrillas or another group.