This is how the armed groups that dispute control of northern Antioquia operate

A massacre of 4 young people between the ages of 18 and 20 in the hands of the dissidents of the Farc front 36 was the most recent act of violence that occurred in the North of Antioquia. A subregion that in the first 31 days of the year adjusted 16 homicides8 of them in Yarumal.

(We invite you to read: Details of the massacre in Antioquia are revealed: 4 young people were murdered)

A panorama that It has inflamed the flames among department authorities, human rights defenders, and analysts of the armed conflict. if one takes into account that, for the same period of the previous year, there were 9 cases, which represents an increase of 77.7 percent.

Behind murders, extortion, recruitment of minors and forced displacement there are criminal groups that dispute control of the territory in an area that is configured as a drug trafficking corridor. EL TIEMPO consulted with experts about what is happening in the sub-region.

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For Óscar Yesid Zapata, a human rights defender from Antioquia, the resurgence of violence in the area is explained by the reconfiguration of armed groupsa situation that had already been warned by early warning 011 of 2021 from the Ombudsman’s Office.

“This has generated in recent years a very complex situation of territorial control due to the presence of these groups, but also in the increase in homicidesextortion and another series of situations that put the population at total risk,” said Zapata.

Along the same lines, Carlos Zapata, coordinator of Human Rights at the Popular Training Institute, added that this situation is explained because “in the Northern subregion there is a dispute corridor between Anorí, Angostura, Campamento, Yarumal and Valdivia, which is usually managed by the dissidence of the Farc front 36. But there is also a presence of the AGC there.”

According to the coordinator, the drug crystallization laboratories for export are located in this corridor. “There converge coca crops and a mobility corridor between Bajo Cauca to the North in Ituango. And that gives him a way out of drug trafficking through that route,” Zapata said.

However, the human rights defender explained that the confrontations between the groups are not constant. “Something like they were having control under a series of territorial pacts, but what happened in Campamento sets off alarms for the armed actions of these groups against the population“said Yesid Zapata.

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The Ombudsman’s early warning warns that the scenario of armed conflict in areas of northern Antioquia is due to an escalation by the presence and expansion of the AGC, factions of the dissidents of the front 18 of the Farc (in the limits of San Andrés de Cuerquia) and the front 36, the ELN and ‘Los Pachelly’ de Bello.

“There is an institutional weakness that is not responding to the needs of the population. In addition, there is a complete absence of other State entities that should be providing guarantees to Human Rights in the territory”, recalled defender Zapata.

there is no ceasefire

Although the 36th front of the Farc announced last September its willingness to join a multilateral ceasefire and expressed its intention to participate in the Total Peace project of the President of the Republic, Gustavo Petro; This armed group is not linked to the Central General Staff, which is within the bilateral ceasefire announced by the Government at the end of 2022.

“During the peace process, there were people from the 36th front who, before the FARC began their demobilization, had already said that they were not going to participate. They are an independent structure that was not organized from Gentil Duarte and Iván MárquezCarlos Zapata recalled.

For this reason, the expert assured that in principle they should not benefit from the ceasefire because “The Public Force has the constitutional obligation to prosecute armed actors outside the law. I have not seen actions that show that the dissidents of 36 want to join a dialogue.”

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In addition, he recalled that this front has an alliance with the ELN. “That is unquestionable, but that does not give him political and negotiation status,” added Zapata.

The analyst also pointed out that during the months of October, November and December there was stagnation in the coca paste trade, which has moved a little more since mid-January. Hence extortions are triggered as a means to guarantee their criminal income.

In the midst of the confrontations between the illegals is the population of Northern Antioquia. “There should be a strong call from the National Governmentl so that actions against the population are not continued“, Yesid Zapata pointed out.

Measures by the authorities

After the massacre that occurred between Angostura and Campamento, the Antioquia Security Secretariat reported that it will deliver 100 million pesos as a reward for whoever delivers information that leads to the whereabouts of alias Leo or Firo, the alleged leader of Front 36.

(See here all the news from Medellín and Antioquia from EL TIEMPO)

Likewise, after an extraordinary security council held in Yarumal, the decision was made to increase the force foot of the National Army and Police in this municipality to guarantee territorial control. For this reason, mixed patrols will be carried out in the main road corridors, as well as anti-extortion prevention activities.


This is how the armed groups that dispute control of northern Antioquia operate