At least 17 people were killed in three attacks across Colombia in regions contested by criminal groups, drug traffickers, and dissidents of the demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas.
Officials and local media reported on Saturday that the attacks occurred within 24 hours in three Colombian provinces.
Colombia’s President Ivan Duque condemned the violence.
"The rejection of violence is because it mainly hurts the young people of Colombia,” he said. “It hurts that in recent years we have seen that the main victims of violence are youth. It hurts that in many communities these armed groups have always tried to recruit children."
The attacks in the Columbian provinces of Cauca and Narino claimed the life of 12 people, six in each, while the attack in the province of Arauca left five people dead.
Just a week ago, eight people were killed by an unidentified armed group in a contested drug trafficking area in Narino. Five other people were killed on August 11 in a neighborhood in the eastern part of the city of Cali.
More than 260,000 people have been killed and millions displaced during Colombia’s decades-long drug trafficking conflicts that have involved drug gangs, other criminal groups and former members of FARC who reject the Duque’s 2016 peace deal.