The ordeal without food, in confinement and between bullets, in Charco, Nariño

There are more than 40,000 inhabitants who are afraid and hungry.

Food does not arrive by rivers in the region or by the sea, as the means to do it, mainly.

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Fluvial transport has been suspended for two weeks, when public order worsened in this locality on the coast of the department.

Stores have been closed for two weeks and some are open intermittently.

The population is surrounded by a war without quarter between illegals and ‘narcos’ who dispute the territory of illicit crops. But it is also in the middle of a crossfire between these organized armed groups and the Army.

At the same time, some of the communities have accused soldiers of alleged excesses of force.

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Meanwhile, authorities are searching in the urban area of ??El Charco for those who caused a fire in the house of Mayor Víctor Candelo.

The flames began on the first floor of the house, where there is a drugstore, and spread to the second level. There, the president and his family rested, including his son, his wife and two grandchildren. The attack happened in the early hours of Friday.

The president is serving a measure of house arrest, while a judicial process for incurring alleged acts of corruption is advancing. He was arrested in September 2021.

He said that he does not understand the reason for this attack on him and asks his aggressors not to involve his family.

Likewise, the mayor in charge of that town , José Denis Obregón and the municipal government secretary, Franklin Yesquen Hinestroza, stated that the fear and discomfort of the community is registered, above all, in the Agua Prieta village due to illegal actions, but also due to the presence of l Army. This population fears that the presence of the military will put them even more at risk.

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Obregón said that there is hunger, because food does not reach the entire population.

The discomfort of the residents became more evident since January 25, when they staged a peaceful protest to request the immediate withdrawal of the Army from the municipality.

Since that day, caused the closure of the business. In the Mayor’s Office and in other official entities, the operation is at half speed.

Similarly, students from schools in rural areas stopped attending classes and what is even more serious “possible displacements from the rural area to the urban area, which could generate chaos and more food shortages, because boats are not entering the municipality. This was reiterated by the mayor in charge.

Obregón maintained that the pertinent actions will be promoted to generate spaces for dialogue with the communities, for which he called on the community councils, indigenous reservations and organizations that defend human rights to build consensus-building processes that prevent the disturbance of public order with acts of violence.

Given the difficult situation in that Nariñense municipality, the Government of Nariño held an extraordinary security council, in which the decision was made to set up a dialogue table with the different social actors and thus reach an agreed solution to the conflict.

The Secretary of the Government of Nariño, Amílcar Pantoja, said that the civil authorities with the relief agencies carry out a detailed follow-up of the situation in El Charco.

What does the Army say?

The Command of the Joint Task Force for Stabilization and Consolidation Hércules reported that on January 20 it learned that the community of some villages in Alto Tapaje had allegedly intended to carry out a rioted against the Public Force.

It also reported that on January 23, in the village El Supi, the troops of the Battalion of Land Operations No. 15 carried out military control of the area and “were surrounded by the community, expressing their rejection of the presence of the military units.” of the FARC”. That this constraint is on the community, seeking to make it reluctant and pressing its exit from the territory.

According to the Army statement, this illegal armed group “intends to prevent the troops from maintaining their advance towards nodal points , where there is a strong presence of all the links in the drug trafficking chain.”

The Army indicated in the letter that its actions are in compliance with its constitutional duty to respect the laws, guarantee the safety of citizens and to mitigate the risks to the inhabitants, attending to the early warning No. 080 of 2018 of the Ombudsman.

This alert warns of a situation of human rights violations in El Charco.

It was also emphasized that the troops of the Pegaso Operational Command and the Marine Infantry Brigade No. 4 will continue advancing military operations in that region of the Pacific Coast of Nariño, “aimed at defending sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and protecting the civilian population.”