Armed clashes between the ELN guerrilla group (Ejército de Liberación Nacional) and paramilitary groups have been taking place in Chocó department, in the municipalities of Riosucio, Carmen del Darién, and Bojayá. Amnesty International (AI) is warning that 3600 people in 14 communities have been trapped by the violence. According to AI, this violence could trigger a mass exodus from the area if the state does not intervene to protect the civilian population, which is suffering from shortages and a lack of access to basic services in addition to the risk of being caught up in the fighting.
According to Colombian authorities, 17,825 people were displaced nationwide due to violence between January and June 2018, or approximately 100 per day. Most were fleeing violence involving illegal armed groups, including the ELN and criminal organizations (BACRIM), notably in Nariño department and the Catatumbo area of Norte de Santander. Many of these groups are fighting for control of territory vacated by the now-demobilized FARC guerrilla (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia), such as drug trafficking routes, coca growing areas, and illegal mines.
Due to the presence of a number of armed groups - including drug cartels, right-wing militias, local gangs, the ELN, and ex-FARC dissidents - Western governments generally advise against travel to various regions of the country, including much of Chocó department.
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