Authorities in the western Colombian department of Choco announced that an illegally armed group, thought to be paramilitary, is currently holding an indigenous community of some 300 people captive and have abducted fourteen of its members, reported EFE on Wednesday.
According to reports, the armed group, thought to be a paramilitary and drug-trafficking band named “Los Rastrojos,” besieged the indigenous Embera community on Sunday, in order to prevent them from voting in Colombia’s congressional elections.
Authorities state that the community is still, three days later, being held captive by the illegally armed forces.
The department of Choco’s ombudsman, Víctor Raul Mosquera, said that although the authorities have been instructed to act on the release of the hostages, so far no military or police forces have been able to identify where the hostages are being held.
Mosquera also emphasized that this was not the first attack on indigenous people by the paramilitary group, who are thought to function in the departments of Nariño and Valle del Cauca, as well as the Choco.