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Colombia: Aid to victims of fighting in the north

28-01-1999 News Release 99/04

In the past few weeks ICRC delegates and members of the Colombian Red Cross have been assisting people affected by an upsurge in violence between self-defence groups and guerrilla forces in areas controlled by the guerrillas in the northern Colombian departments of Cesar and Magdalena.

In Magdalena, the districts of El Banco, Playon de Orozco and El Piñon have been the scene of armed attacks by self-defence groups, as has Santa Isabel (Curumani district) in Cesar. These attacks have resulted in a large number of deaths, driven hundreds of people from their homes and caused widespread destruction; many houses have been torched.

So far, ICRC delegates have distributed food and provided medical care for nearly 2,400  people, while furnishing financial assistance to those who, fearing for their safety, wish to leave for other parts of the country.