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| 5/30/2011 5:00:00 PM

Colombia details scale of land stolen in civil conflict

May 30--The Colombian government says almost 7m hectares (17m acres) of land have been stolen by armed groups involved in the country's civil conflict over the past 25 years.

Agriculture Minister Juan Camilo Restrepo said hundreds of thousands of families were driven from their land.

He said paramilitaries, rebels and drug dealers had used violence and fraud to take the land.

Colombia this week passed a law which aims to return the land to its owners.

'Historic law'

In an interview with the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, Mr Restrepo said getting that land back would be a "gigantic administrative and judicial task".

The minister said four million hectares of land had been abandoned by owners too scared to return for fear of being killed by right-wing paramilitaries, left-wing guerrilla groups or drug trafficking gangs.
 
Read more here.

Semana International delivers news about Colombia in English. Find more in our home.

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