Colombia: Nine killed in separate attacks amid escalating violence Latin American News

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Three independent attacks occur after the helicopter carried by President Ivan Duque was shot down on Friday near the border with Venezuela.

At least nine people, including four police officers, have been killed in three separate attacks across Colombia, which has seen a recent rise in violence and instability in various parts of the country.

Three off-duty police officers were killed in an attack by gunmen in the northeastern city of Pailitias, according to a police statement Sunday. One of the officers’ pregnant women was also injured.

In the south of the country, five men were found murdered in San Vicente del Caguan, Mayor Julian Perdomo told AFP news agency.

A fourth police officer was also killed in “an armed group raid” in a neighborhood in the southwestern city of Cali, Mayor Jorge Ivan Ospina said.

It was not immediately known who was responsible for any of the three attacks, although authorities often blame armed groups (including dissidents who rejected a 2016 peace deal between the government and rebels in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)) for this violence.

The mark of a projectile impact is seen in a helicopter in which the Colombian president, Ivan Duque, was traveling, after suffering an attack during an overflight in Cucuta [Colombia Presidency/Handout via Reuters]

The wave of attacks comes later a helicopter carrying President Ivan Duque and other government officials were shot near Colombia’s border with Venezuela on Friday.

No one on board was injured, but photos posted by the Duke’s office showed the tail and the main blade. The government has done that offered a reward of nearly $ 800,000 for any information about who was responsible.

Earlier this month, car bomb explosions at a military base in the northeastern city of Cucuta (the same city that flew Duque’s helicopter when he was shot), 36 people were also injured.

The Colombian observer group Indepaz says there have been 45 massacres (the killing of three or more people in the same event) so far this year.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a March report that Colombia had also seen a resurgence of violence last year, as there had been at least five conflicts with armed groups. The ICRC said 389 people had died last year, mostly civilians, from explosive devices, the highest number since 2016.

More than 27,000 people were displaced across Colombia in the first quarter of 2021, according to the country’s human rights defender in April, a jump of 177 percent compared to the same period last year.

The ombudsman said people were forced to leave their homes amid threats, killings, forced recruitment by armed gangs and clashes between armed groups.

Colombia has also seen regular anti-government protests since April, when a tax reform proposal that critics said would disproportionately harm the middle class and workers pushed thousands of people into the streets.

Since then, protesters have demanded government action to combat poverty, inequalities in health and education and increase violence across the country. Rights groups have raised concerns about police violence linked to these protests.





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