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UN Warns Fighting in Colombia Endangers Indigenous Groups

United Nations officials say some indigenous groups in Colombia face extinction because of ongoing political fighting that has forced them to flee their ancestral homes.

Fighting between the Colombian army and guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, in the past week has caused the displacement of an estimated 3,500 indigenous Nasa people in one southwest province. Observers say that if the fighting continues, the number of displaced could reach 5,000.

U.N. officials say the Embera people are also under threat. About 4,000 of them could soon be driven from their homes in the northwest.

Colombia's indigenous peoples have suffered heavily during the civil war. Illegal armed groups have killed their leaders and conscripted young people into the ranks. The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia estimates that more than 20 indigenous leaders have disappeared or have been murdered so far this year.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.