Report puts Colombia conflict’s death toll at 260,000-plus

August 2, 2018 GMT

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — More than 260,000 people died from violence during six decades of guerrilla conflict in Colombia, researchers say in detailed findings released Thursday.

Colombia’s National Center for Historical Memory published what is considered the most comprehensive accounting of deaths directly connected to the conflict, including murders, massacres and terrorist attacks.

Most of the dead were civilians, and most of the killers were either Marxist guerrillas or paramilitary groups formed to fight them.

Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas called the figure “shocking,” and said it underscores the importance of working toward peace with groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the largest of the rebel armies, which signed a peace deal in 2016 and has demobilized

“Engaging in a peace process with the FARC, ending that conflict with them and having them involved in politics keeps these figures from growing substantially higher,” he said.

Researchers drew on the help of hundreds of institutions and pored over 10,000 documents to make the findings, which refined previous estimates that deaths had exceeded a quarter of a million.

The report also finds that most of the 80,000 people who disappeared have never been recovered. More than 37,000 of those killed kidnapping victims, and nearly 15,700 were victims of sexual violence, the report finds.

It does not include an earlier decade-long wave of political violence from 1948 to 1958, when 200,000 died, according to some estimates.