Colombian security forces have arrested more than 500 members of “emerging” criminal gangs so far in 2010, President Juan Manuel Santos said Thursday.
“Over the course of the year we neutralized more than a hundred narco-terrorists, 15,312 were arrested for drug trafficking, there have been 72 operations against the “bacrim” [emerging criminal gangs], more than 500 members of these organizations, more than 50 foreigners were arrested for drug trafficking, the police eradicated more than 27,000 hectares [of coca and marijuana],” Santos said at a public meeting in the country’s central Cundinamarca department.
The President did admit a rise in kidnapping in the first nine months of the year, compared to the same period last year. Without mentioning the total number of kidnappings this year, Santos said the number was 39 higher than last year.
Santos recently presented a revamped security policy to curb an increase in jungle attacks by leftist rebels from the FARC and ELN and an urban offensive against gangs affiliated with the international drug trade.
Bacrim is the Colombian government’s term for “emerging criminal gangs” which have arisen in the place of the demobilized paramilitary groups and are generally involved in drug trafficking.