AMERICA/COLOMBIA - "It is impossible to live here": says Mgr. Garcia on the violence in Upper Baudo

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Chocó (Agenzia Fides) - "Violence in Upper Baudo does not stop. The communities along the Baudo and San Juan rivers are living a serious humanitarian crisis, and many have begun to flee", said His Exc. Mgr. Julio Hernando García Peláez, Bishop of Istmina-Tadó, towards the Pacific coast of Colombia. The communities in the area, says a note sent to Fides by the Episcopal Conference, are in the crossfire, and are calling for a "humanitarian truce" as a solution to the violence that has raged in the area.
About 500 people of the African community of Peña Azul, Apartado, Boca de Leon, Cocalito and Amparradó, and also the group of the indigenous communities of Geandó, Vacal and Puerto Peña are virtually prisoners of fear and anxiety caused by the permanent clashes between armed groups of organized crime and drug traffickers.
"The people here were peaceful, but in recent years, due to the war, anxiety, mistrust and deaths affecting the civilian population, especially women and children, people have stopped being peaceful" said the Bishop talking to a group of journalists and media operators. Mgr. García Peláez explained that communities have fled to other cities where there is nothing, no jobs or businesses, and this is creating a major humanitarian crisis. "We are not adequately prepared to deal with these emergencies", he said, calling for the urgent presence of the state and guarantees in order to allow these people to return to their territories. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 21/03/2017)