On October 19, the Red Cross reported a nearly 100 percent increase in landmine deaths from 2017 to 2018. While the majority of the deaths so far in 2018 have occurred in rural areas near Colombia's Pacific and Caribbean coasts, the Red Cross noted that the city of Buenaventura and several urban centers in the Catatumbo region are also hotspots for landmine-related casualties. The death toll is likely to rise over the coming months.
While landmine deaths have sharply declined since 2015 (roughly corresponding with the Colombian government signing a peace deal with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia [FARC] in 2016), the uptick in 2018 is reflective of the renewed intensity of the conflict between the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) and the Colombian government, as well as between the ELN and several rival armed groups. Landmines are often placed to deter governmental authorities from discovering or accessing coca fields and are common in rural areas.
Individuals in Colombia are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for militant activity, avoid venturing off frequently traveled paths in rural areas, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
Copyright and Disclaimer