Authorities expressed concern at the reemergence of armed paramilitary groups along the Colombian coast. The groups are said to be protecting key drug trafficking routes within the country.
High ranking members of the armed forces and the national police met in Montería, in the department of Córdoba at the direct request of President Álvaro Uribe to discuss the numerous reports of unrest within the region. There have already been 180 assassinations, believed to be linked to the paramilitary groups of ‘Don Mario´and ‘Los Paisas’, in Córdoba this year alone.
General Gustavo Matamoros said that the increase in violence could be attributed drug traffickers, who use whatever means necessary to ensure that their cargo makes it to the coast and on to international markets.
After the demobilization of paramilitary umbrella organization AUC in 2006, crimes in the region — mostly committed by paramilitaries — plummeted. Murder rates rose again in the last year.