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ACAPS Thematic report: Colombia - Regional needs analysis: Chocó, 22 December 2021

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Following the demobilisation of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) as a result of the Peace Agreement with the Colombian Government in 2016, three dynamics developed in Chocó:

  • In the south of the department, the National Liberation Army (ELN) maintained control of most municipalities;

  • To the north, in Chocó's Urabá, the Gaitanist Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AGC) confronted other armed groups (such as the Virgilio Peralta Arenas Bloc, also known as Los Caparros, and the ELN) and consolidated itself as the hegemonic actor;

  • In the centre of the department, territories were disputed between AGC and ELN.

In 2020-2021, these dynamics changed as the AGC tried to expand towards the centre and south of the department, provoking new clashes with the ELN. As a result, there has been an increase in forced displacement, confinement, homicides, and other manifestations of violence against the civilian population.


  • In 2020, the process of expansion of the AGC towards the south of the department has caused multiple confrontations in the subregions of Alto Atrato, Baudó, Litoral del Pacífico, Medio Atrato, and San Juan. The main consequences are the confinement of populations and forced displacement.

  • During confinement, populations lose access to their livelihoods (fishing and agriculture) and suffer from a lack of food security and protection. Although food insecurity is not a direct consequence of the armed conflict in Chocó, confinement aggravates it.

  • Not all confinements are the result of orders from armed groups or clashes; they can also result from the presence of landmines or decisions by the community to protect its member(s).

  • Indigenous and Afrodescendant communities are particularly affected by the violence in Chocó as they inhabit territories strategically located for the collection and transport of cocaine hydrochloride and carry out activities that armed groups seek to exploit (such as artisanal mining).