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

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 8 NOV 2011

Viktor Bout was convicted of conspiracy to sell weapons to Colombian rebel group the FARC after a DEA sting…

COLOMBIA / 10 SEP 2013

A former top army commander in Colombia has been sentenced to 19 years and six months in prison for ties…

COLOMBIA / 11 JUN 2014

Colombia's government has initiated preliminary peace talks with the country's second largest guerrilla group, the ELN, in a move that raises…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.