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Violence on the Colombia-Venezuela border displaces Venezuelan families

Growing tension in Arauca after a wave of targeted killings was carried out by ELN guerrillas due to FARC dissidents

The Biden Administration announced plans to remove FARC from the list of terrorist organizations.
The Biden Administration announced plans to remove FARC from the list of terrorist organizations. | Bumble Dee

January 16, 2022 1:54pm

Updated: January 16, 2022 3:09pm

Tensions are growing on the Colombia-Venezuela border following a wave of targeted assassinations by National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas last week against dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The violence in the area has caused the displacement of some 170 families, approximately 673 people.

"In addition to the approximately 170 displaced families in Arauca, the phenomenon is already beginning to be felt in Norte de Santander, particularly in the municipality of Toledo, where 24 families have arrived," the Office of the Ombudsman said in a statement.

There is "great tension in the communities and fear that the actions of the armed groups could generate more deaths," continued the statement.

On January 2, social organizations and residents of the municipalities of Tame, Fortul, Arauquita, and Saravena began reporting the discovery of dead bodies. To date, there have been 33 homicides registered by authorities in recent weeks.

At first, there was talk of an armed confrontation between the ELN and a FARC dissidence, front 10, but the Attorney General's Office claimed that the shots found in the bodies were fired at close range, so it is believed that these are very likely executions on behalf of the ELN.

"Fear in the communities persists, for this reason, we are in the department of Arauca talking directly with the communities that have been affected by the actions of illegal armed groups that dispute illegal activities in the border area," said Ombudsman Carlos Camargo.

Camargo called on the illegal armed groups to respect the civilian population and to stay away from all of their activities, including the recruitment of minors.