At least 24 people were killed in violent disputes between dissidents of the FARC and guerrillas from National Liberation Army (ELN) in three municipalities of the Colombian department of Arauca, bordering Venezuela, local authorities reported Monday.
The wave of violence occurred this weekend in the towns of Tame, Fortul, Saravena and Arauquita.
“Yesterday at around 5 in the afternoon we already had the official report of 17 murdered people. However, at night they continued to appear and at this time we have 24 people already officially reported as murdered ”, Tame’s representative, Juan Carlos Villate, told W Radio.
The official explained that these murders occurred in the first two days of the year and that even “surely the figure could rise to 50 this Monday.”
Among the dead are middle commanders of the FARC dissidents, others from the ELN and “sympathizers, militiamen or civilian population who have been accused of being a militant or political leader of an organization that were declared as a military objective.” Villate detailed.
The mayor of Arauquita, Etelivar Torres, reported yesterday that a communication he had with the governor of Arauca spoke of “17 people killed.”
Villate explained, for his part, that the situation is due to a conflict between the ELN and the tenth front of the FARC dissidents, “who have openly declared war.”
“It all started with ELN operations in the populated centers detaining people, some murdering them and the bodies have been appearing little by little ”, expressed the personero.
Regarding the situation in Arauca, the Ombudsman’s Office said that – according to information compiled by its regional office – in the “last hours there have been homicides, threats, illegal detentions, massive displacements and risk of forced displacement in border municipalities, specifically in Tame, Fortul, Saravena and Arauquita ”.