Thousands displaced in Choco

By bogotapost May 10, 2015

Violence forces roughly 2,000 indigenous and Afro-Colombians to flee their homes in the space of a month, UN report says

Between March and April, thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes – or can’t leave them because of safety concerns – in rural areas in Choco as a result of the ongoing armed conflict, a UN report states.

The report, released on April 28 by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated that about 2,000 people of indigenous and African descent have been confined or displaced by an uptick of fighting between government troops and the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas.

The report adds that between late March and April 19, five communities have been affected by conflict, mostly in the western Colombian department of Choco.

ELN attacks have damaged housing in many areas, and caused mental and psychological damage to the people living in the region, according to the report.

The Mayor of Bagado, Choco was said to be coordinating the delivery of food aid to affected communities in March.

A humanitarian team was expected to visit affected indigenous communities on May 4 to assess their needs, according to media reports.

By Steven Grattan