Colombia's disbanded paramilitary groups have morphed into criminal gangs that are contributing to a surge in violence in Medellin and several rural zones, according to a report by Human Rights Watch.
Some 4,000 people in 24 of Colombia's 32 states now belong to such gangs, and the country's high rate of internal displacement is providing them with rich recruitment possibilities, the report says. Colombia has up to 4m internal refugees, the second highest figure in the world after Sudan.
The report, based on a two-year investigation by human rights activists, criticises the 2006-2008 demobilisation of some 30,000 members of the country's rightwing paramilitary coalition, the AUC, or United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia. The AUC was heavily involved in narcotics trafficking, extortion, smuggling, money-laundering, and the murder of human-rights activists, trade unionists and civilians.
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment