Wednesday, September 22, 2021

6 killed in Colombia campaign violence, toll likely to rise: NGO

BOGOTA – Violence linked to campaigning for Colombia’s 2022 presidential and legislative elections has occurred every four days over the past five months, with an observation group warning Wednesday that threats and killings could increase as voting draws to a close.

The Peace and Reconciliation Foundation said in a report that between March 13 and August 23, there were 29 violent incidents in which six people died.

The group said most of the victims were elected public officials such as mayors and city councilors from left-wing parties such as the Green Alliance and Human Columbia.

“The situation is likely to worsen at the national level, given the strength of alternative political parties as compared to the traditional political classes,” the report said.

Esteban Salazar, one of the report’s authors, said in a virtual press conference, “As time goes on and the registration of candidates progresses, we will see an increasing trend in acts of violence.”

Legislative elections will be held in March 2022, while the first round of voting for the presidency will be held in May.

Although a 2016 peace deal between the government and rebels of Colombia’s now-demilitarized Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) largely reduced violence, some areas still face mass displacements, killings and other violence. Because of a fight between the former FARC, who reject the deal, the crime gang, and the rest of the rebel group ELN.

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About 72 percent of the perpetrators are unknown, while more than 27 percent of the attacks were blamed on crime gangs, the report said.

“Someone is paying these killers to kill or bully these people,” said Ariel Avila, deputy director of the foundation, “Victims often reported corruption, illegal mining or the planting of coca, which is the origin in cocaine.” component.

“Where there are high levels of electoral competition, it seems that the use of violence is another mechanism of political competition,” Avila said.

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Violence and threats during campaigning for local and regional elections in 2019 affected 230 people, with incidents occurring in 28 of Colombia’s 32 provinces, the study said.

by Luis Jaime Acosta

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

6 killed in Colombia campaign violence, toll likely to rise: NGO
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