Colombia’s Ombudsman has warned of a serious humanitarian crisis in the southwest corner of the country, local media reported Wednesday.
According to newspaper El Espectador, Ombudsman Jorge Armando Otalora complained about the dire situation following a string of displacements, attacks and killings in the southwestern region, especially in Buenaventura, which is located in the southwest Valle de Cauca department. There were 33 violent deaths in this area in October alone.
Using figures from the State Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Science, Otalora said that 130 violent deaths have occurred this year in Buenaventura, which is Colombia’s main port city on the Pacific with a population of just over 300,000.
According to Otalora, neo-paramilitary groups and guerrillas are the main perpetrators of violent crime in the region. The groups inflict violence on the civilian population while trying to establish dominance in the area that is strategically important for drug trafficking.
Otalora stated that 2,197 people were displaced from Buenaventura in October. He further warned that this week may bring new waves of mass displacement in the area.