Three massacres in Colombia in 24 hours
10 September 2020 | International
Three massacres have taken place in Colombia within a 24-hour period, with a total of 12 people killed, local media reported on Tuesday.
More than 50 massacres - defined as killings of at least three people - have been recorded in the country so far this year, according to the NGO Indepaz, which monitors the violence.
The most recent massacres brought the total to 55, broadcaster Caracol reported. They occurred in the northern Bolivar and Antioquia departments on Monday. Three people were shot dead in the street in Simiti in Bolivar and four others in front of a house in Carmen de Bolivar in the same department, news programmes Noticentro 1 CM& and Noticias Caracol reported.
Five other people were shot dead at a billiard hall near Zaragoza in Antioquia.
It was thought that the killers were likely guerrillas or criminal gang members engaged in illegal mining, drug trafficking or extortion.
Some of the victims were suspected of criminal activities, reports said.
Defence minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo arrived in Carmen de Bolivar on Tuesday to discuss the security situation with regional authorities, the ministry tweeted.
A peace deal signed with the guerrilla movement FARC in 2016 formally ended a 52-year conflict.
But FARC dissidents, the guerrilla group National Liberation Army (ELN), paramilitary and criminal gangs continue to seek control over territory to engage in cocaine smuggling and other illicit activities.
Some 1 000 civil society leaders and more than 200 former FARC fighters have been assassinated since the peace agreement was signed, according to Indepaz.
The vast majority of the killings go unpunished.
President Ivan Duque's critics say the government focuses on sending troops to restive areas, instead of fully implementing rural development policies foreseen in the 2016 peace deal, which were due to help bring peace to the countryside.