Four homeless residents of Medellin were killed early Saturday morning when a bomb was detonated inside a shelter in the center of Colombia’s second largest city. A dozen were reported injured.
Authorities blame drug dealers
According to local officials, the bomb was carried into the building by one of the fatal victims. The perpetrator was allegedly sent by local drug traffickers opposing a recent police offensive against drug dealing in the center.
The bomb was detonated by a mobile device outside the building, said Medellin’s Government Secretary Luis Fernando Suarez, who is responsible for public safety in the city.
Among the injured were six policemen in charge of security in the area around the shelter.
Two of the police officers were injured in the explosion, while four were injured in a subsequent attack on the security forces by homeless people who were under the impression the bomb had been planted by the police by the police.
Attack on homeless shelter followed clashes with police
Police had violently clashed with some 1,400 homeless people in the immediate surroundings of the shelter on Friday after a police raid that sought to sweep the streets of homeless residents. The street dwellers refused to board trucks that according to authorities were meant to take them to shelters spread over the city and attacked police.
Some 60 homeless people were arrested following the clashes.
Over the past year, Medellin has carried out an aggressive policy against drug dealing in the center of the city which, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office, has the highest murder rate of the city.
Downtown streets and alleyways known for drug dealing have regularly been raided by the Police, while other streets have been cordoned off in order to prevent an accumulation of drug users and dealers.
The bomb attack is the second in Medellin in two weeks; a police post on the central Bolivar Square was attacked with a grenade earlier this month.