Paras torch land returned to Afro-Colombians
Hours after the government concluded the restitution of some 63,000 acres of usurped lands to Afro-Colombian communities in Chocó department, illegal armed groups raided and burned several acres of crops, Colombia's Caracol Radio reported March 21. The Interior and Justice Minister German Vargas Lleras, along with Agriculture Minister Juan Camilo Restrepo, visited the Chocó towns of Curvarado and Jiguamiando to conclude the legal restoration of lands to Afro-Colombians in the region last week. Hours after their visit, paramilitary armed groups allegedly attacked the area of Curvarado, torching 12.35 acres of corn that had been planted by those who live there.
The Colombian government had also formed a new security body, the Integrated Center of Intelligence for Land Restitution (CI2-RT), to provide protection to both leaders and beneficiaries in the land restitution process, the Ministry of Defense reported. Colombia is currently believed to have the most internally displaced people in the world, with an estimated figure of 3.7 million. (Colombia Reports, March 21; Colombia Reports, March 16)