Thousands of displaced indigenous Colombians to return to hometowns
Bogota, Aug 6 (EFE).- More than 1,500 indigenous people of Colombia’s northern Cordoba department, who had been forcibly displaced due to armed clashes between the left-wing rebels of FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the right-wing paramilitary group Clan del Golfo (the Gulf Clan), have agreed to return to their villages, officials said on Friday.
The Colombian Ombudsman’s Office said in a statement that members of the communities of Karagaby, Kamaenka and Iwagado, situated in the Alto Sinu indigenous reserve of the Embera Katio people, on Friday “took the decision to return to their territories voluntarily from Sunday, Aug. 8.
The announcement was made in a meeting of the departmental committee for greater transitional justice, called by public prosecutor Carlos Camargo and headed by Cordoba Governor Orlando Benitez Mora.
The municipal transitional justice committees coordinate and design public policies to support the victims of conflict within the city.
They are tasked with setting up programs with the local administration along with the national integrated support and redressal system for victims, in order to defend the rights of the victims of armed conflict throughout Colombia.
The large-scale displacement began on Apr. 20 and forced at least 1,503 indigenous Colombians of 210 families to live in tents in a park in departmental capital Monteria.
The Ombudsman’s Office has designed an operational plan to support their return and will accompany the returnees for 90 days to ensure that the local authorities respect and guarantee their rights.
The armed groups are seeking to control the area to continue growing illegal crops, carry out illegal mining and control drug-trafficking in the area. EFE