Medellin homicide up 66%: Q’Hubo

Between January and April this year, 512 people were assassinated in
Medellin. This is a 66 percent rise compared to the same period last
year, Medellin tabloid Q’Hubo reported Monday.

These statistics back up a report released Tuesday that the homicide rate rose by 14 percent in the first five months of 2009 in the department Antioquia, of which Medellin is the capital.

The figures reported by Q’Hubo amount to five or six murders a day in Medellin. 420 of the murders were committed with fire arms. 63 were committed with knives.

April was the most violent month in Medellin in the last three years. There were 185 murders in April this year, compared to 74 in April 2008 and 53 in April 2007.

The Medellin metropolitan area has also seen a dramatic increase in violence. Last year the municipality of La Sabaneta reported only 3 murders in the whole year. This year to date the murder rate in La Sabaneta has increased by 100 percent, Q’Hubo said.

Authorities attribute the increase in the murder rate to conflict between rival gangs of drug

The spike in the murder rate occurred in April, the same month that drug lord Don Mario was captured. Following his arrest there was an increase in violence as rivals began fighting over territory and for control of the business. 

South of Medellin, in the city of Pereira the murder rate fell by 27 percent in the first five months of 2009, Eje 21 reported.

The Security Council provided figures that showed that while there were 179 murders in the city from January to May 2008, the number dropped to 131 for the same period in 2009. Kidnapping dropped by 66 percent, from 12 cases in 2008 to 5 in 2009.

Eje 21 reported that murders in Bogota fell by 48 percent in the first five months of 2009 compared to the same period the previous year.

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