Bogota‘s government secretary admitted Tuesday that armed gangs are currently active in the Colombian capital, directly contradicting a claim made by her predecessor less than three months earlier, newspaper El Espectador reports.
Mariella Barragan Beltran, the new secretary of government noted the existence of “bacrim” — the word the government uses to describe politically active criminal groups descended from paramilitaries and now-defunct drug cartels — within Bogota and that the issue must be handled carefully and without speculation. Beltran stated that acquiring accurate information about the groups would be one of her top priorities as well as strengthening police forces.
Beltran’s statement was a complete reversal of the previous secretary of government’s policy on this issue, who claimed that there were no such politically active groups within the city in early April.
The groups referred to as “bacrim” by the government are the descendants of the paramilitaries formally disbanded by the government who continue to carry arms and engage in criminal behavior for political ends. The admission of their existence in the capital took place just hours after President Santos admitted that the security situation in Colombia had deteriorated.