Colombia: first deaths after the end of the truce with the main drug cartel

Colombia: first deaths after end of truce with main cartel of drug


The Colombian army announced on Tuesday that it had killed two members of the Clan del Golfo and captured one of its leaders, as well as the assassination of a soldier, after the announcement on Sunday of the end of an armed truce against the most powerful drug cartel in the country. 

On December 31, the government announced a bilateral ceasefire with this cartel, but also the guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN, Guévarist), the dissident groups of the former Marxist guerrillas of the FARC, which failed to sign the 2016 peace accord, and a group of paramilitaries.

But President Gustavo Petro on Sunday suspended the ceasefire with the cartel, accusing him of violating it by encouraging attacks by illegal miners in the northwest of the country. The latter have been protesting since the beginning of March against the destruction by the military and the police of the machines with which they extract gold.

The army indicates in a statement that it captured on Monday, in this area of ​​the department of Antioquia, the alleged “coordinator of hitmen (…) of this illegal group”, alias “Andrés”.

According to Defense Minister Ivan Velásquez, 10,000 police and military personnel have been stationed in the area.

In a video sent to the media, General Luis Ospina adds that a “clash” in the north of the country, in the department of Bolivar, “caused the death of two members of the Clan”.

“The commitment of the troops (…) will be to continue the military operations,” said Colonel Luis Cifuentes, in charge of operations against the Clan del Golfo.

The same day, a soldier in leave in a business in the city of Monteria (northwest), was “murdered while he was defenseless,” said another statement from the army published Tuesday afternoon.

< p>According to initial information, the attackers were traveling on motorcycles and belong to the Clan del Golfo, the army said.

Between the city of Medellín and the Caribbean coast, the Monteria region is a stronghold of the Clan del Golfo, heir to the far-right paramilitary militias that settled there at the height of the internal war that ravaged the country in the 1990s. -2000. It is precisely in this region of illegal gold mines that miners have been leading a protest movement for three weeks.

On Tuesday, the national road linking Medellín to the Caribbean coast remained closed to traffic, after an attack targeting two buses and four trucks by suspected members of the criminal group.

Only convoys of dozens of civilian vehicles , protected and supervised by the army, were authorized to transit there, whizzing past the carcasses of buses burned two days earlier, AFP noted. The road has been completely cleared of the cut trees that cluttered it last week.

The miners, however, say they are continuing their protest movement, and activity was greatly slowed down in several localities along this national road, where businesses were however open.

By reactivating operations against the Clan del Golfo, President Petro is confronting the largest cartel in Colombia, the world's leading producer of cocaine.

Almost As much as drug trafficking, Colombian armed groups profit from illegal mining, which causes significant deforestation and mercury pollution of waterways.