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| 4/23/2009 12:00:00 AM

Wider Drug War Threatens Colombian Indians

Apr 23 -- Up and down the rivers of western Colombia, a new breed of criminal armies is pressing deeper into this isolated jungle, fighting with guerrillas for control of the cocaine trade and forcing thousands of Indians to flee.

It is the kind of nightmarish ordeal that is an all-too-common feature of Colombia’s long war: peasants being terrorized by gunmen seeking dominance in the backlands.

But as Colombia’s war for control of the drug trade intensifies in frontiers like this one, with new combatants vying for smuggling routes and coca-growing areas where Indians eke out a meager existence, it is adding to the already grave toll on the nation’s indigenous groups. At least 27 of the groups are at risk of being eliminated because of the country’s four-decade conflict, according to the United Nations, and human rights organizations worry that the new violence is pushing even deeper into the Indians’ ancient lands.
 
Read more here.
 
Semana International delivers news about Colombia in English. Find more in our home.
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