Sumary of Five years after Colombia’s peace deal, militias continue to cause havoc:
- Nov 27th 2021BAJO CAUCATHERE ARE two ways to make a decent living in Bajo Cauca, the poorest region of Antioquia province, in northwest Colombia.
- Countless rickety boats dredge the river bed in search of gold and dump mountains of sediment on its banks.
- Both these shadow economies were brought to the region by groups that eventually formed the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC), an alliance of right-wing paramilitary groups founded in the early 1980s by cattle ranchers, drug lords and other members of the regional elite.
- They fought Marxist guerrillas, most notably the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), often with the implicit backing of local army commanders.
- The FARC, for its part, signed a peace deal with the government in 2016. Yet many parts of Colombia are still racked by conflict, fomented by successors to older armed groups and by new ones.
- Around 14% of demobilised AUC combatants—some 5,000 people—have joined more than a dozen “neo-paramilitary” groups.
- Another 5,200 fighters have joined the “dissidents”, armed groups founded by former FARC members who reject the peace deal.
- The war involving the government, paramilitary groups and the FARC was the longest-running conflict in the western hemisphere.