Wayuu people under threat in Colombia

GENEVA, Switzerland, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Violence in Colombia's northeast is forcing indigenous people to flee into neighboring Venezuela, prompting calls from the United Nations to secure the region.

Ron Redmond, a U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees spokesman, said Tuesday more that 85 of the indigenous Wayuu people in the La Guajira department, or district, of northeast Colombia had been forced from their homes because of attacks from "armed men," the United Nations reported.


Redmond called for an immediate end to the violence and for Colombian authorities to secure the region. Officials say the armed men destroyed Wayuu houses and threatened to "kill their leader," which prompted the Wayuu flight to the Venezuelan border state of Zulia.

"Human rights monitors have documented growing violence in the Department of La Guajira over the past few months, warning of a rise in selective murders, death threats, intimidation and extortion, as well as of the increased presence of reorganized illegal armed groups in the region," the release said.

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