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More than 400 people displaced due to fighting between the army and ELN

January 18, 2019 08:35
Updated January 18, 2019 20:36

At least 400 people were forced to leave their homes in the region of Catatumbo in Colombia (on the border with Venezuela) due to fighting between the guerrillas of the ELN and the army, reported on Friday. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). .

OCHA stated in a statement that the clashes began on January 10 between the public force and the National Liberation Army (ELN), so that the 400 inhabitants of the village La Primavera have moved and refugees in the village school.

That village is part of the municipality of San Calixto, in the department of Norte de Santander, the information added.

According to OCHA, the fights take place near the school to which the inhabitants have moved and which has limited space.

In this regard, they said that it is expected that the victims will return to the sector known as "The Y" of that path and the number of displaced persons will increase.

The OCHA information also states that "the response capacity of local institutions is overwhelmed, which is why humanitarian assistance is needed for displaced persons".

The displaced people need food, water and basic sanitation, mattresses, diapers and personal hygiene kits.

According to the Municipal Personality, an entity responsible for the protection of human rights, there are a large number of pregnant minors and mothers who require vitamin supplements both in the host community and in the displaced population.

In 2018, 23 mass displacements and nearly 4,781 affected persons were reported, according to the OCHA Colombia Information Management Unit (Umaic), cited in the statement.

The jungle department of Catatumbo, which is part of Norte de Santander and where the ELN has a strong presence, a stronghold of the People's Liberation Army (EPL), disagreements of the FARC, former paramilitary groups, drug traffickers and smugglers dispute the territory.

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