“352 Deaths in Arauca, Colombia in 2022 Linked to Armed Groups”

Colombia’s Ombudsman’s Office reported on Wednesday (01. 11. 2023) that Arauca, one of Colombia’s departments, faced a staggering 352 homicides during 2022. The majority of these homicides were attributed to bloody clashes between the FARC dissidents and the National Liberation Army (ELN).

The Office unveiled that Saravena recorded the highest homicide rate with 119, followed by Tame with 82, Arauca with 48 and Fortul with 46. Puerto Rondón had five homicides registered while Cravo Norte had one.

Kidnappings and disappearances, due to the severe lack of public complaints, had added to the rising body count. The Office estimates that this figure could have been more.

In response, Ombudsman Carlos Camargo called on the warring factions to respect civilian norms and International Humanitarian Law in order to decrease the suffering of the population. He added that recently, several dead men had been discovered in Puerto Rondón, causing anxiety and fear among the local villagers, and possible forced displacements cannot be ruled out.

Camargo urged the authorities to immediately accept the Early Warning request for Puerto Rondón and Cravo Norte in order to protect the civilian population from ELN and FARC dissidents’ drug trafficking and smuggling activities.

Preliminary reports from the Municipal Ombudsman confirmed a clash between ELN and FARC dissidents on January 9th and 10th which resulted in 10 deaths. On the eve of Christmas, ELN declared a ceasefire agreement with the State, which ended on January 2 but excluded any other illegal armed groups.

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