Colombian President Alvaro Uribe on Saturday said he was confident that some 120,000 of the country’s estimated three million displaced people will return home this year.
According to Uribe, 60,000 displaced have already returned to their homelands in the first six weeks of 2010.
“Up to now, 500,000 Colombians have returned. The goal for this year is that another 120,000 go back home. We announce this from San Carlos [in the Antioquia department], which once was the epicenter of serious displacement, and now is the epicenter of a great return,” Uribe said at one of his weekly communal meetings.
In San Carlos, the government claims that 60,000 people returned home since last October as part of the state program “To return is to live.”
Uribe promised the local mayor and the governor of Antioquia that the army would stay in San Carlos permanently to ensure that there would be no return of illegal armed groups.
While the Colombian army has had great successes in pushing leftist rebels back into the rural and jungle areas of Colombia, the ongoing violence between the army, left-wing guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries has displaced more than 2.5 million Colombians.