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  • Thousands of FARC-EP fighters have gathered in the zones defined in the peace accord.

    Thousands of FARC-EP fighters have gathered in the zones defined in the peace accord. | Photo: EFE

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In Catatumbo, campesino organizations have blocked the demobilization of FARC units in Caño Indio, arguing that they would be left unprotected.

Various illegal armed groups have started to fill the void left in rural areas by the recent demobilization of the FARC rebels, as a result of the peace accord, warned a report Saturday.

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With areas being abandoned by the guerrilla fighters in recent weeks, various voices have warned against a surge of paramilitary groups, reported Colombian outlet Semana.

A bishop in the town of Apartado, in Antioquia province, warned authorities about a paramilitary presence in the Uraba and Choco provinces — at least 300 fighters from the Gaitanistas Self-Defense Unit of Colombia — gathering around the basin of Cacarica River, reported local communities.

In Catatumbo, campesino organizations have blocked the demobilization of FARC units in Caño Indio, arguing that they would be left unprotected, while paramilitary groups began gathering nearby.

Colombia's second guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army, currently negotiating a peace accord with the Colombian government in Ecuador, said they were considering temporarily filling the void left by the FARC due to popular demand.

The FARC units have left about 240 towns and joined 26 concentration zones under the watch of a multinational commission. The Colombian military has moved into some territories in Tolima and Huila, although areas with illegal mining and coca crops have proven to be more difficult to take over, according to the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation.

Criminal narco-terrorist groups with ties to the paramilitaries have successfully infiltrated public authorities thanks to corruption, according to the foundation.

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