The president, speaking at a security council in Cordoba’s capital Monteria, said the new operation is a follow-up to “Operation Troy I,” which was launched in 2011 with the objective of reducing murder rates and defeating the activities of neo-paramilitary groups in the northwestern Uraba region and the northern department of Cordoba.
“We will re-launch this operation in Cordoba and all of Uraba. It has a few new components, because we have to adapt to the new modalities of these criminals and the way the criminality has mutated. Therefore we will give much more emphasis on intelligence,” Santos said.
According to the president, the Colombian armed forces would begin the new operation “in the coming weeks.”
The Colombian government claimed that the original Operation Troy was a “success” and that it succeeded in reducing soaring murder rates in Cordoba.
“Operation Troy was very successful. In reality the security indicators in the department have improved substantially […] Troy made an important effect given the reality of this department 18 months ago,” the president said.
Since the launch of Operation Troy in January 2011, “793 operations were carried out, 1,857 members of criminal groups arrested and 17 killed in combat,” said Santos.
Despite the government’s claim the operation has been successful, neo-paramilitary group “Los Urabeños” effectively shut down public life along the Caribbean coast and parts of the city of Medellin in a response to the arrest of one of their leaders in December last year.
The Uraba and Cordoba area is birthplace of paramilitary organization AUC that officially demobilized between 2003 and 2006, but whose members continued under the name of the Urabeños.
The region is considered crucial to drug traffickers due to its access to Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Increasingly, illegal gold mining has made the region more troubled as common criminals, neo-paramilitaries and left-wing guerrillas struggle to control the income generated by the valuable resource.