Sounds the alarm about the growing presence of the Gulf Clan and Pachencas neo-paramilitary groups in three Caribbean coast departments.
A coca paste lab in Tarazá, Antioquia, that the Army alleges to have been property of the Gulf Clan.
Stories of how the armed groups active in this highly conflictive zone of northeastern Antioquia department are forcing children to join their ranks.
- Fighting between the Gulf Clan and dissidents from the FARC’s 18th Front displaces 863 people in the rural zone of Ituango, Antioquia, which lies on a strategic trafficking route. Some say they were given ten minutes to leave their homes on pain of death.
- Intelligence sources tell El Colombiano that the displacement is a tactic that armed groups use when they are in a position of weakness. “The people in the 18th Front residual group are surrounded by Gulf Clan personnel. So they pressure the communities to displace the that automatically obligates the Army to mobilize its troops, avoiding the other group’s advance.
- Earlier in the month, the entire remaining population of the Santa Lucía FARC demobilization site (ETCR) in Ituango—62 former fighters and 45 relatives—decided to abandon the site within 60 days due to threats. Twelve former FARC members have been killed in Ituango, more than any other municipality. Departmental and national government agencies are discussing options with the ETCR’s residents.
- The Army’s 7th Division reports on January 30 that it had learned of a plot by FARC dissident groups to assassinate ex-guerrillas living at the Santa Lucía facility.
An in-depth look at the security and human rights situation in Chocó, where Afro-descendant and indigenous communities are caught amid fighting between the ELN and the Gulf Clan.
A look at the Colombian security forces’ five-year campaign against the Gulf Clan paramilitary organization in northwestern Colombia.
The 18th Front FARC dissident group and the Gulf Clan paramilitaries are increasing their presence in the historically conflictive municipality of Ituango, Antioquia, where demobilized FARC members are especially vulnerable.
- Visiting Bojayá, Chocó, President Duque promises to increase military presence and social investment in the battered municipality.
- That day, Bojayá social leader Leyner Palacios, who had met with President Duque three days before, receives a truculent letter from the commander of the Titan Joint Task Force, a Chocó-based military unit. Palacios had denounced episodes of collusion between members of the security forces and Gulf Clan paramilitaries. In what he calls a “freedom of information request,” Commander Darío Fernando Cardona Castrillón asks Palacios to provide “names or surnames of the security-force members, and the place and date during which such illegal acts were committed, so that respective investigations may be initiated.”
- Amid reports of 23 homicides of social leaders in December, a large-scale “Gulf Clan” paramilitary incursion in Bojayá, Chocó, and the murder of human rights defender Gloria Ocampo in Putumayo, the Presidency convenes a rare meeting of the National Security Guarantees Commission that was established by the peace accord.
- Bojayá social leader Leyner Palacios, who denounced serious recent threats on his life, is invited to join the Commission’s meeting. Palacios is known nationally as a survivor of the 2002 FARC indiscriminate bombing that destroyed the village’s church, killing 79 people—including 5 of Palacios’s relatives—seeking refuge inside.
- High Commissioner for Peace Miguel Ceballos voices doubt that 300 Gulf Clan members could be deployed all at once in Bojayá, as local groups have denounced.
“Boys, girls, and adolescents in indigenous reserves and Afro-Colombian community councils are those most pursued” by the ELN and the Gulf Clan paramilitaries in Chocó.