Bogota issued an environmental alert on Sunday regarding poor air quality caused by forest fires that raged for days throughout Colombia’s Amazon.
According to authorities, the area affected by poor air quality is greater Paris.
Governor Haydeer Palacio in Guaviare declared a “red alert,” citing forest fires that had engulfed 10,000 hectares.
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The wind carried smoke from several fires, which were blamed on armed groups, for 350 km (220 miles) to northwest. It reached the capital of Colombia.
Meanwhile, Diego Molano, Colombia’s Defence Minister, claimed that former members of FARC (Future Armed Forces of Colombia) set fires to Amazon rainforests in Colombia to clear space for large-scale stockbreeding and coca production.
Molano tweeted, “Former FARC Members Set Forests on Fire in Colombian Amazon In Order to Capture Land for Extensive Livestock Farming and Coca Cultivation.”
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He also published photos of 17 people who were wanted for setting fire to the Colombian Amazon’s forests.
FARC was founded in 1964 as an armed left-wing force that opposed the Colombian government. After a disarmament process, it was transformed into the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force party in 2017. In August 2019, however, Ivan Marquez, former leader of FARC declared his return back to the armed struggle.
More than 90% of coca plantations are found in the so called Silver Triangle, which includes Colombia, Peru, Bolivia.
According to a report by the Environment Ministry, January this year was the hottest in the Colombian Amazon for ten years. It also led to an increase of forest fires in the region to the southeast and could have an impact on the air quality in the capital.
(With inputs by agencies)