Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos presented the “Plan Troya Pacifico,” a new course of action to combat criminal drug trafficking bands in the southwestern departments of Nariño, Cauca and Valle del Cauca, on Wednesday.
According to Santos, the plan involves the creation of a new Marine Infantry brigade in the southwest Colombian town of Tumaco, Nariño department, while national police will reinforce their presence by 1,400 throughout the three departments.
“This plan will begin today, with complete force against the criminal bands that operate in these three departments,” said the head of state, after a Security Council meeting in Tumaco, according to a press release from the president’s website.
Santos also formally recognized at the meeting that there is indeed, and has for some time, existed an armed conflict in Colombia, contradicting statements of his predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, who denied that a conflict exists, reported La F.M.
“For some time there has been armed conflict in Colombia,” stated Santos.
The president did not publicly release further details into the workings of the plan, but said that it is similar to the “Plan Troya Caribe,” already implemented in the Cordoba department against criminal bands.
“There is complete coordination among the forces, and that is fundamental,” said Santos.
Last week, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) reported that, in the last two months, more than 1,800 civilians have been mass displaced by clashes between illegal armed groups, including emerging criminal bands.
UNHCR figures include at least 1,000 displaced from Valle del Cauca and 400 from Nariño.
According to NGO Indepaz, the new criminal drug trafficking bands have a presence in one third of the country.