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Arauca, Colombia: At least 23 killed amid clashes between armed groups

“We are proceeding with the preliminary figure of 23 victims, but the information is still not [fully] clear. It’s very hard to enter the area where the clashes occurred, so these numbers must be handled with care,” spokesperson Paola Tovar told CNN.

Colombia’s ombudsman Carlos Camargo said that fighting first erupted between the National Liberation Army — the largest leftist guerrilla group in the country known by its Spanish acronym ELN — and dissident factions of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, in the early hours of January 2.

The ELN and FARC dissident groups, formed by rebel fighters who refused to enter the Colombian peace process in 2016, were fighting over control of illegal economies such as drug trafficking, Colombian President Ivan Duque told reporters on Monday.

At least 12 families have been displaced as a result on the violence, Camargo said.

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