August has been the most violent month of the year so far in the department of Cordoba after 62 people were murdered, according to a report released by the local government Crime Observation department.
The recent spate of killings means 356 people have been murdered in 2011 so far. While this is 45 less than in the same period last year, the number has increased sharply over the last three months.
The northwestern department on the Caribbean coast is fiercely contested by drug trafficking gangs and FARC guerrillas. Most of the murders have been of people caught up in the conflict, including peasant farmers and indigenous communities.
A week ago, the commander of the Armed Forces, Admiral Edgar Cely, recognized the deteriorating security situation. Cely said, “We are watching Cordoba carefully … We have obtained very good results and we are not going to let violence continue generating terror in this department.”