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The worst is over, but Colombia's war goes on

More than 10,000 rebels continue to fight and some paramilitary groups have rearmed.

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It's been nearly 20 years since the worst of the violence in Trujillo, but bodies of today's crimes still float down the nearby Cauca River from time to time.

Lucila Valencia sent one of her sons there to search for his brother, Carlos Arturo, who just last month was seen being dragged from his home in the middle of the night by gunmen, before disappearing. The remaining son searched the river and streams until he was warned to back off. "If he didn't, he'd end up in the river himself," Ms. Valencia says.

The demobilization of more than 30,000 paramilitary fighters between 2003 and 2005 marked a turning point in Colombia's conflict, but it by no means put an end to it. More than 10,000 rebels continue to fight and some paramilitaries have rearmed.

In the first eight months of 2008, according to the government's Human Rights Observatory, there were 19 massacres in which 87 people died and 315 people have been kidnapped. In the same time frame, the rights group Codhes says that 54 people have been killed in extrajudicial executions by government forces, and more than 270,000 new internal refugees have been forced to flee their homes.

It's a far cry from the height of the conflict when 1,863 Colombians died in 400 massacres in 1999, and 2,787 people were kidnapped. In 2002, the worst year for displacements, 412,553 people were forced from their land.


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