HomeNewsBriefMass Displacements in Colombia Illustrate New Dynamics of Criminal Violence
BRIEF

Mass Displacements in Colombia Illustrate New Dynamics of Criminal Violence

COLOMBIA / 23 JAN 2018 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

Fighting between criminal groups in Colombia displaced more than 1,000 people in just four days, signaling a new generation of conflict-related displacement following the demobilization of the country’s largest guerrilla group.

Between January 17 and January 20, nearly 300 families comprising over 1,000 individuals were displaced due to fighting between criminal groups throughout various departments in Colombia that are strategic to lucrative criminal activities, according to a press release from Colombia’s Ombudsman’s office.

On January 17, fighting between the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional – ELN) and dissidents from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC) displaced 172 people from the municipality of Magüí Payán in the southeastern department of Nariño, the country’s primary coca production center.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Displacement

The following day, 375 individuals were forced to flee the town of San José de Uré in the northern department of Córdoba after receiving threats from a criminal group identified as the “Caparrapos.” According to the press release, the Caparrapos are fighting against the Urabeños, Colombia’s most powerful crime group, likely for control of coca crops and drug trafficking in the region.

The largest displacement occurred on January 19, when more than 500 people fled the towns of Cáceres and Caucasia in the northwestern department of Antioquia after receiving threats from an armed group allegedly operating in the area. Another 350 families are also at risk of being displaced from the area, according to the press release.

Three more families were displaced from the town of Paya in the central department of Boyaca on January 20 due to fighting between Colombia’s armed forces and the ELN.

Violence attributed to the ELN has spread across the country after the end of a temporary ceasefire between the guerrilla group and the government.

InSight Crime Analysis

The recent wave of conflict-related displacements across Colombia illustrates how the demobilization of the FARC has changed the dynamics of violence driving displacement in the South American country.

Colombia has traditionally had one of the largest internally displaced populations due to conflict and organized crime, and was recently identified as having the second highest number of internally displaced citizens of any country in the world. This ranking has largely been attributed to the decades-long civil war between the FARC and the Colombian government.

SEE ALSO: Colombia News and Profiles

But following the historic peace deal signed by the FARC and the government in 2016 that marked the official end of the conflict, mass displacements actually rose, fueled by violent competition for control over criminal economies left up for grabs by the FARC’s demobilization.

The recent fighting exemplifies this dynamic. For example, the ELN fighters and FARC dissidents battling it out in Magüí Payán are vying for control of key drug trafficking routes leading to Central America through Ecuador. In Córdoba’s San José de Uré municipality, criminal groups are also fighting to control key aspects of the drug trade.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 31 MAY 2013

Colombia's criminal hybrid groups, known as BACRIM, are reportedly using landmines to protect their criminal interests in north Colombia, marking…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 16 JAN 2013

The FARC rebel group has been increasing its arms purchases since the beginning of peace talks with the…

COLOMBIA / 1 JUL 2014

Colombia's ELN guerrillas have carried out several attacks since announcing their participation in preliminary peace talks with the government, a…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…