from Weekly News Update on the Americas

Thousands of civilians have been displaced and many more are trapped by fighting between Colombian government forces and leftist rebels in the southwestern department of Narino, bordering Ecuador, and in the northwestern Pacific coast department of Choco. In Narino, the fighting has forced at least 1,300 people from their homes [in mid-July]. In Choco, civilians have been killed and wounded, and people are trapped in the area and unable to flee. Most of those affected are indigenous people, including children and pregnant women. (IDP News Alert, July /20) The combat in Choco has left indigenous communities along the Truando river stranded and incommunicado. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is especially concerned about some 137 Embera indigenous people trapped there for over a week. (Adital, July 19)

In Narino, the Permanent Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CPDH) reports that at least four teachers have been killed or disappeared in recent weeks. In Samaniego municipality, Efren Alonso Motta Acosta, a teacher in the Bellavista rural school, has been disappeared since June 27. Luis Hernando Chiran, a teacher in the El Guadual rural school in Ricaurte municipality, was abducted and his body found six days later showing signs of torture. Francisco Ernesto Garcia, who taught at the El Tambillo educational center in Sandona municipality, was found dead on July 6 in an abandoned rural area along the road to Samaniego. On July 10, teacher Ivan Nanez Munoz died, hit by seven bullets, on his way to work at the Bellavista educational center in San Pablo municipality.

The CPDH Narino section also reports that the Colombian Air Force has been bombing and strafing Awa indigenous communities in Ricaurte and Barbacoas municipalities, causing massive displacement. Hundreds of people have sought refuge in the villages of Cumbas and Guadual, where they are stranded without any food or supplies. (Comite Permanente de Derechos Humanos-Seccional Narino, July 13 via

According to the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC), three indigenous people have died in the bombings and combat in Narino between the Colombian Army’s 29th Brigade and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Ricaurte and Cumbal municipalities. The victims include Luis Arsecio Valenzuela, a former indigenous governor of Cumbal, and another community leader, Campos Paguay. Their families have been unable to recover their bodies because the combat is continuing. Not even the Red Cross has been able to enter the area, which is being blockaded by the military. (CRIC, July 19 via Adital)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 23


Weekly News Update on the Americas

See also WW4 REPORT #123


Reprinted by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, Aug. 1, 2006
Reprinting permissible with attribution