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24 New Violent Incidents Amid Ceasefire in Colombia

24 nuevos hechos violentos en medio de cese al fuego en Colombia, EFE

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The Colombian Ombudsman’s Office recorded 24 violent incidents in Colombia between January 21 and February 17, within the framework of the bilateral ceasefire between the government and four illegal armed groups, the agency reported on Wednesday.

In total, according to the report “Ombudsman’s Monitoring – Second Bulletin Situation of Human Rights and IHL Ceasefire: January 21 – February 17, 2023,” there were five military actions between the security forces and illegal armed groups that are part of the bilateral ceasefire and 19 other types of hostilities involving criminals.

In his quest for “total peace” in Colombia, President Gustavo Petro announced on December 31 a six-month ceasefire with the National Liberation Army (ELN), the Central General Staff of the FARC dissidents, the Second Marquetalia, the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC) and the paramilitaries of the Sierra Nevada.

However, days later the ELN said that it did not join this pact because it was announced without having been agreed upon at the negotiating table in Caracas and unilaterally.

Actions by armed groups

The military actions involved “directly the Public Forces and the Western Coordinating Command of the dissident faction of the former FARC-EP called Estado Mayor Central” and “all of the events occurred in the department of Cauca (southwest), in areas with Early Warnings in force and in the process of monitoring.”

There was also a confrontation in the municipality of Argelia on February 9, and three days later there was another combat in a rural area of Balboa.

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Other hostilities, on the other hand, involve graffiti, armed patrols, assassinations of civilians, kidnappings, circulation of pamphlets, massacres and clashes between illegal groups in the departments of Córdoba, Antioquia, La Guajira, Cesar, Magdalena, Atlántico, Sucre, Bolívar, Meta, Cundinamarca, Caquetá, Nariño, Cauca and Valle del Cauca.

These actions “although they did not take place directly between the public forces and any of the groups mentioned in the Decrees of the National Government, they did generate humanitarian impacts and/or violations of human rights or IHL (International Humanitarian Law) by some of the four armed groups.”

“It is deemed that its effect is indirect in relation to the implementation of said Decrees, but with a clear impact on the human rights situation of the communities and social and organizational processes that inhabit the territories where these actors have some kind of action,” added the Ombudsman’s Office.