The International Red Cross, Medecins san Frontiers ICRC, the Catholic Pastoral department and the governmental agency Social Action are coordinating efforts to cope with a major displacement of thousands of people in Nariño. According to reports hundreds of families from the municipalities of El Charco, La Tola, Magui, Payan and Policarpa fled the rural areas as a result of the sustained combats between the FARC, the ELN and Colombian Marines. According to the acting governor in the department, Maria Ines Bacca, the situation is critical and there is an early alert for a displacement in another four municipalities in the area, Caracol radio reports. The Diocese of San Andres de Tumaco in Nariño department reports that their Pastoral Care office and other institutions such as social, indigenous, humanitarian and human rights organizations in the department received a threat via internet on the 20th of March from a presumed paramilitary group called ‘Organization New Generation’ (ONG). The diocese rejects the threats, and calls for the resolution of the grave situation in this part of the Pacific Coast because of the increased number of selective killings, disappearances, massacres and displacement in the region. According to the latest reports from the Diocese, 837 families, a total of 4,823 persons, were displaced from the rural hamlets of Taija, El Hojal and San Francisco, in the municipalities of El Charco and La Tola, fleeing from a battle between the Army’s 10th Infantry Marine Battalion and the 29th Front of the FARC, US-based Colombia Support Network (CSN) reports. The grapevine says that the displaced people from El Charco are from the lower part of the river - those from the upper part of the river are prevented from leaving by the army (to avoid FARC fighters from slipping away) as medical supplies and food are prevented from entering by the FARC (which fears army infiltration), and local people's movement (for example to farm or fish) is totally prohibited by both groups, which means that even as some locals are displaced from their land, others are effectively displaced while still on their land...
El País, Cali's newspaper, matter-of-factly blames the whole thing on the drug war, which seems right. (Link, translated).