World Bulletin / News Desk
Colombian authorities on Tuesday arrested 13 people from Nepal and Cuba travelling on false documents in the northern region of Urabá and heading to the U.S., highlighting the rising problem of people trafficking in the country.
The police operation that took place in the municipality of Turbo, 210 miles north of the city of Medellin and located close to Colombia’s border with Panama, resulted in the arrest of 11 Nepalese and two Cuban citizens.
In 2014 to date, Urabá police have arrested 37 foreign nationals trying to travel into Panama. They have also recovered the bodies of 84 unnamed individuals in the Gulf of Urabá presumably belonging to those trying to make the crossing.
“The local community alerted us to strange comings and goings in this house,” said Colonel Raúl Antonio Riaño Chief of Police for Urabá in an interview with Medellin’s El Colombiano newspaper after the latest arrests. “Investigations are underway to hunt down and capture members of these organizations dedicated to people trafficking.”
Urabá, which is located on the northern Caribbean Colombia coast has long been a troubled region known for the importation of weapons and exportation of illegal drugs and has been witness to significant power struggles between the Colombian Armed Forces attempting to wrest power from the guerrillas and newly emerged armed groups formed from former right wing paramilitary groups.
In recent years South America has become a viable bridge for illegal immigrants trying to reach the United States. In late 2013, 31 Bangladeshis, eight Ghanaians and two Nepalese were captured waiting for a boat to take them from Turbo to Panama. All of the detained were found with illegal Brazilian documents and their route was found to have been though Ecuador, crossing the border at the city of Ipiales, before reaching Medellin and from there moving on to Urabá.
Migración Colombia the entity in charge of immigration and border control in Colombia reported that in 2012 a total of 700 illegal immigrants were captured and subsequently repatriated to their countries of origin.
But the illegal immigrant traffic flow is not to the U.S. alone. In 2007, 101 Chinese nationals were discovered in Zipaquira, close to the capital of Bogota. Their aim was to cross from Colombia into Venezuela to find work in a joint Venezuela-China industrial complex being constructed in the city of Valencia.Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Nisan 2014, 10:18