BOGOTA: Colombian justice officials are investigating the deaths of 37 children from suspected mercury poisoning in a jungle area rife with illegal mining, authorities said Thursday. An ombudsman for the protection of human rights said it detected “significant illegal mining” in Choco, a department in the northwest of Colombia that has large indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities. Colombia’s constitutional court on Wednesday accepted a legal complaint by representatives of those communities against the Colombian state suing over the deaths of the children. Another 64 people suffered suspected mercury poisoning. The deaths and illnesses stretch back to 2013 and 2014. The court also ordered an investigation into the impact of mining and logging on the environment in the municipality of Quibdo and in the Atrato River valley and its tributaries.