January homicide rates skyrocket in Colombia’s major cities

A Colombian NGO warns that the number of homicides in the country’s major cities has skyrocketed in January, led by Medellin with more than 200 murders, radio Caracol reported on Monday..

“There has been a significant increase in homicides with a firearm in the seven cities in the country where an increase in incidences of violence has been reported, and Medellin has been found to head the group. In cities such as Popayan and Cali emerging gangs have planted the seed of terror,” said the director of the Centre for Human Rights and the Displaced (CODHES), Jorge Rojas.

Authorities confirmed 100 homicides in Bogota in the month of January, and special safety warnings have been issued to inhabitants of Colombia’s north coast.

According to Caracol, the increased violence is caused by the frustrations of emerging paramilitary groups in the face of new disarmament programs, as well as the strengthening of some guerrilla groups.

CODHES suggests that the problem will not be solved through military involvement.

“I think that the government is throwing gas on the fire with proposals such as the network of university informants … I think that the country has to advance towards an agreement in national security,” said Rojas.

Bogota’s ombudsman has called on the authorities to address the causes of the surge in urban violence, in order to curb the increasing number of homicides throughout the country.

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