HomeNewsBriefPockets of Rising Violence in Rural Colombia Despite National Drop in Murders
BRIEF

Pockets of Rising Violence in Rural Colombia Despite National Drop in Murders

COLOMBIA / 7 SEP 2017 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

While Colombia boasts its lowest homicide rate in nearly half a century, pockets of spiking violence in several rural areas tell a different story -- that of armed groups struggling for control of lucrative criminal markets as Colombia's armed conflict enters a new phase.

La Silla Vacía has published a report on the 10 Colombian municipalities with the greatest percentage rise in homicide rates. These rural locations registered a low murder count between January 1 and August 23, 2016 (between zero and one), but saw the tally rise 500 percent and upwards over the same period in 2017.

SEE ALSO:  InDepth Coverage of Homicides

In seven of the 10 cases, the increasing murders are reportedly related to the exit of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - FARC) rebels, who recently demobilized as part of a peace process with the Colombian government. The guerrillas controlled swaths of land in which they controlled lucrative criminal economies, much of which is now in a power vacuum.

17-09-07-mapa-Silla-Vacia

La Silla Vacía map showing the 10 Colombian municipalities with the greatest percentage increase in murders between 2016 and 2017

All of the municipalities listed are rural with populations no larger than 31,000, and are spread across nine departments.

InSight Crime Analysis

In 2016, Colombia registered the lowest homicide rate of the past 42 years. But this broader picture overlooks localized outbreaks of violence that speak to shifting armed conflict and organized crime dynamics in the country.

Although violence associated to Colombia's armed conflict is nowhere near as high as it was a decade ago, the FARC's demobilization has sparked a power struggle over the strategic territories left behind by the rebels. There, groups battle over turf or try to consolidate their control, while also eliminating social leaders who might stand in their way or draw attention to their activities.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of FARC Peace

La Silla Vacía's reporting exemplifies this. In several municipalities listed -- many of them key drug trafficking real estate in former FARC territory -- the murders are apparently linked to the presence or expansion of dissident FARC members, other rebel groups or criminal organizations.

These trends also illustrate the absence of the state in much of the countryside. Still, Colombia is taking positive steps to bring security force presence to at-risk rural areas as a condition of its ongoing peace process.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 29 MAR 2022

A record cocaine seizure off the coast of Colombia’s San Andres is the latest in a string of million-dollar drug…

ELITES AND CRIME / 20 MAY 2022

Political assassinations, record drug seizures, gang wars – an avalanche of criminal concerns in Paraguay are coalescing around the city…

HOMICIDES / 29 AUG 2022

Police in Guanajuato, Mexico, are accused of being in the pocket of the Jalisco Cartel. But do they have a…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…