At least 1500 people displaced in Tumaco due to armed groups

By Jess Rapp October 16, 2017

Following the October 5th violence in Tumaco, which left 6 dead and 12 injured, The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Saturday that families in the area have been displaced.

The massacre of peasants has led to more confrontations between unidentified armed groups in the area. According to OCHA, these clashes have forced at least 1,500 people to leave their homes. Armed groups have imposed invisible borders in various Tumaco neighbourhoods, and communities are forced to limit their mobility between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. to stay safe.

A joint report published by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), found that with an internally displaced population of 7.2 million people, Colombia now has the largest internally displaced population in the world – higher than war-torn countries like Syria (6.3 million displaced) and Iraq (3 million displaced).

The Global Report on Global Displacement highlights the area most affected is the southwestern pacific coast, where the Tumaco killings occurred. The document reiterated that large numbers of people and families have fled their homes due to the presence of right-wing paramilitaries, and other illegal armed groups who have filled the vacuum left by the demobilized FARC guerrillas in the region.

Communities particularity affected by the violence are Afro-Colombian and indigenous people.

A recent UNHCR report states that 3,549 people (913 families) have been displaced along the Colombian pacific coast since the beginning of 2017. Last year, UNHCR also recorded 11,363 people (3,068 families) displaced by violence in the same areas.