Child assassins, hired by paramilitary or drug gangs, killed 542 people in Colombia in the past two years, El Tiempo reported
Sunday. Their age makes it easier for them to approach and kill their
targets. Besides, they’re cheap.
Less than a week ago, an eight-month-pregnant lawyer from Medellin was shot through the head. One of the two involved in the attack was 15 years old. The recent murder of an unknown man in a BMW in Bogota is suspected to be committed by a 16-year old.
As the newspaper indicates, almost every day someone in Colombia is assassinated by a minor. Generally speaking, these children are part of criminal gangs involved in robberies and are recruited for a murder, because they are less likely to be bothered by security forces that and because they are cheap.
The lesser experience a ‘sicario’ has and the lower the profile of the victim is, makes using young ‘sicarios’ financially more attractive while it is equally efficient. In some cases a young assassin can more easily avoid suspicion and approach a victim more easily than one who is over 18.
According to El Tiempo, many of the ‘sicarios’ in Medellin are sons and nephews of the hitmen used by Pablo Escobar‘s Medellin Cartel in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. The city has a fame of raising a large number of assassins that are feared throughout Colombia.
One of the ‘sicarios’ the newspaper talked to received 200,000 pesos (US$97) for his first murder. “I was 13 the first time I did one in. A guy from the neighborhood who was on bad terms with the husband of his daughter contracted me. I approached him from behind and put the gun close to his ear,” the kid told El Tiempo.
According to authorities, the child assassins are the lowest in the chain and receive only a small part that is being paid for an assassination. A criminal organization can charge upto 50 million pesos (US$24 thousand) for a murder, while the juvenile assassin only receives one to six percent of this.
Colombian President Uribe Friday called on authorities to go after the leaders of these assassination gangs.