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Bojayá Chocó Massacre of bojayá ELN FARC: Bojayá inside: trip to two confined communities | 6AM Today by Today

Beautiful viewthe new urban head of bojaya, has houses and some cement streets, an unfinished coliseum, school and temple. A new office for the mayor’s office, a hospital and a bridge in the port are under construction. Neither the electricity nor the drinking water are constant and the internet connection is, to say the least, unstable. Despite this, for the rest of the inhabitants it looks like a metropolis since almost 80% of the population is in the scattered rural area. Suffice it to mention that it is a municipality with an area comparable to that of the department of Atlántico. There are communities (especially indigenous) that take days to reach after traveling through rivers and jungles or mountains. There are others that can be accessed after one or two hours of river navigation but where state abandonment is evident. Here’s what he found Radius Snail in two of those towns:

Pogue: a town that could disappear

To get there you need to navigate the pogue river to where it meets the waters of the river bojaya. About 500 people live there in wooden houses, according to their customs. There are few brick buildings, including the school and a small health post where there is no equipment or personnel to even provide first aid. While 6 AM was there, he heard the story of a soldier from the contingent that patrols in the upper part of the town and who had had strong symptoms of malaria for three days, but did not receive timely care. When someone gets sick with malaria, when an inhabitant suffers a snake bite or there is a pregnant woman, they must be sent to the capital in a chartered panga because the modern river ambulance of the town has never been seen there. The cost of this boat must be borne by the patient and his family and, frequently, patients are referred to Quibdo where the costs of transfer and stay are unpayable to them as it is counted Luis Hernan Palacios.

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Its inhabitants derive their livelihood from wood, although they say that there are more and more legal restrictions on extracting it. Hundreds of logs are stacked in front of the dock because marketing it can be a headache. They used to go out to hunt, fish and grow crops to feed themselves, but now they have had to reduce or avoid these tasks because they fear falling into mines or explosive devices planted by different armed groups. About that fear and also about her health needs we spoke with Mrs. Oneida Orjuela.

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On some cemented sidewalks and on muddy paths, children run all day. Many of them look forward to the food ration that they should be given at school. Several parents agreed that the previous year the food did not arrive for 6 months and in 2022 it only began to arrive from March, but incomplete. So says the lady Ana Aurelina Cordoba.

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Pogue is in a canyon that seems high in relation to the rivers that surround it. However, in rainy seasons the Pogue and the bojaya They grow, flooding a good part of the town and threatening the flimsy buildings with their combined force. When this happens, its inhabitants feel that their town could be wiped off the map. They have asked again and again for their relocation, but the Risk Management Unit and the Ministry of Housing work has not started. Social leader José Adán Palacios explained it to us.

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They have already been victims of FARCof the THE N and of the AGC. Many of them had dead relatives in the Bojayá temple, but the reparation to which they are entitled has not yet arrived.

Pogue is a confined community because, despite the presence of soldiers keeping watch from above and patrolling its narrow paths, the wooded areas where its people used to get their food have become potential death traps.

Piedra Candela: impoverished and poisoned

About 130 families live in this town, most of them Afro, although there are houses visibly inhabited by mestizos and indigenous people. It is already known that the collided It is one of the rainiest areas in the world, but in this village there is no drinking water. The water taken from the river is used to wash dishes, clothes and bodies. Karen Cuestaa determined and eloquent leader of that community explains the consequences:

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Much of the diet of its inhabitants depends on bananas and fish, but the fish they consume have more and more mercury and arsenic that have dangerously concentrated in their urine, blood and scalp. That’s what researchers from the Technological University of Chocó and of the University of Cordoba who subjected them to tests and confirmed the presence of these heavy metals in concentrations that no human could resist without affecting their health. All those examined kept their results in an envelope and waited for a treatment that never came. listen to the story of Manuel Dominguez.

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ANDn Candle Stonelike in Pogue, denounce that the portions of the school feeding plan and those that are sent to community children’s homes are insufficient. A supply of food arrives for a month that often only lasts for a week. Fruits, vegetables and meats frequently arrive in poor condition. Neify Dominguez, community mother, is a witness of it:

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This community experiences the same health problem as other rural concentrations of bojaya. Its inhabitants do not have a minimum preventive service or a community medicine cabinet and that forces them to move to Bellavista where, frequently, they say they receive poor care, they do not deliver the medicines or they are sent to Quibdó. All of the above increases the expense for the patient and his companion in a region where river transfers can cost more than a plane ticket between large cities. listen to the story of Rosaura Mosquera.

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If everything you have read so far moves you, think that this community was forced to move several times due to violence, that today it is confined and, despite all that, the reparation to which they are entitled according to the law does not reach them. . One of the older men of the village, Don Francisco Moreno, He summed up his situation this way:

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This is a small sample of what dozens of towns and villages in Bojayá are experiencing: twenty years after the explosion that killed more than a hundred people, state apathy and intimidation by illegal groups continue to add up. They are Colombians barely surviving.

A revealing fact

About the confinement, about the presence of armed groups or their informants and about the existence of minefields, the people of the region prefer not to speak openly out of fear. Nevertheless, Radius Snail corroborated with other sources and documents the difficult humanitarian situation of its inhabitants, often unprotected by official entities. Those who serve these populations have been NGOs such as Doctors of the World, Norwegian Refugee Councilthe International Committee of the Red Cross and various agenciesl United Nations system. Our week of journalistic coverage in Bojayá ended abruptly when the AGC (Gulf Clan) They declared an armed strike that locked up the civilians, forced the closure of businesses and the halting of river transport, vital in the area.

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