Colombian Military Sends Units to Ituango, Abandoned by Residents Due to Rebel Activity
10:27 GMT 28.07.2021
MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) - Colombia's Defense Ministry sent an additional 250-man unit to the municipality of Ituango, in the northwest department of Antioquia, where more than 4,000 people have been forced to flee their homes due to the activity of illegal armed groups.
"In Ituango, there is an outflow of compatriots, already more than 4,000 people. I want to make it clear to this '18th residual group' of FARC dissidents [rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia] and a man named Camilo that we will not allow them to continue to intimidate, to achieve universal fear and migration in the area," Defense Minister Diego Molano Aponte said in an address posted on his Twitter account on 27 July.
Molano explained that the army will be stationed in the areas where illegal armed groups are present, which is why two more platoons will be available to help the inhabitants of Ituango, who are affected not only by the displacement but also by heavy rains and hurricanes, which has already caused several landslides and has destroyed roads.
"I ordered the military forces under the command of General Juvenal Diaz Mateus to send an additional 250 troops to Ituango. After conducting a security council, the population should be given guarantees of a dignified and voluntary return. Of course, with appropriate security guarantees," Molano said.
According to the minister, the air force has already delivered 4.5 tonnes of humanitarian aid to this area north of Medellin, and the army will deliver another 40 tonnes within a week.
The displacement began on 22 July, but only this Monday afternoon was a helicopter from the government of Antioquia and the Colombian army able to land, bringing food and blankets.
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