At least five people have been killed and another two have been injured in a massacre in the southwest of Colombia, police and local media said Sunday.
According to the local police, the massacre took place in the municipality of Trujillo, some 60 miles north of Cali. Police colonel Mariano Botero told press the massacre was carried out by national drug trafficking organization the “Rastrojos” which is involved in a territorial conflict with rival group the “Urabeños.”
According to Cali newspaper El Pais, the victims were a local farmer, his father, a veterinarian and two other men. The victims reportedly were assassinated on several location in the rural municipality by seven men armed with machine guns.
Four of the victims died on the spot, while a fifth did in the hospital. Two more men were hospitalized in critical condition.
The north of Valle del Cauca, where the massacre took place, is the birthplace of the Rastrojos cartel. Following the surrender of two of its founders and the arrest of a third top commander in 2012, the group apparently weakened.
Following the surrender and arrest of all three founders of the Rastrojos, the neo-paramilitary Urabeños, original from the northwest of Colombia, began an offensive southward to take control of the Rastrojos’ control of drug trafficking routes leading to the Pacific ocean.
The violence has led to an increase in homicides and massacres in the southwest of the country and increased tensions in Cali where local gangs are reported to change allegiance to the nationally operating organizations.