The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) on Wednesday, April 22, denounced paramilitary activity in multiple settlements of Chocó department as it has hindered the distribution aid to quarantined indigenous groups in the region amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Indigenous settlements in Bojaya municipality have reportedly been isolated from receiving provisions since Monday, April 20. ONIC reports that the indigenous population in the area has been adhering to COVID-19 quarantine measures, however, they have been unable to move freely to obtain food and other provisions amid the armed group's presence. The isolated communities have traditionally worked in coordination to receive aid sent by the national government.
The Colombian government extended an ongoing nationwide quarantine to Monday, May 11, to control the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
As of April 23, authorities have confirmed at least 3977 cases of COVID-19 in Colombia, including 189 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.
Individuals in Chocó department are advised to monitor the situation and anticipate security operations and possible rebel attacks in the coming weeks. Due to the presence of a number of armed groups - including drug cartels, right-wing militias, local gangs, and the ELN guerrilla group in addition to ex-FARC dissidents - Western governments generally advise against travel to various regions of the country, most notably most border areas on the frontiers with Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, and Panama.
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