Emerald trader Luis Murcia has been found killed in central Colombia, a local newspaper reported on Friday. The apparent assassination sparks fears over an escalation of violence surrounding the country’s lucrative emerald business.
The body of the trader was lying next to an armored car. Murcia reportedly had been shot seven times. His bodyguards were nowhere to be found, reported Boyaca 7 Dias.
Murcia was one of the key players in Colombia’s “Green Wars” of the 1980s during which competing emerald miners, joined by paramilitary groups and private armies, waged a war in central and east Colombia that killed more than 6,000.
The trader, together with now-deceased “emerald czar” Victor Carranza, requested government interference early last year to prevent a new outbreak of violence due to Carranza’s pending death. The unofficial czar and ancient enemy of Murcia, who controlled most of the industry, subsequently died weeks later.
The call to prevent violence seemed in vain as Murcia has now become the second prominent emerald trader to be killed this year; Martin Rojas, another influential businessman in the industry, was assassinated in May in the emerald-rich region of Boyaca.
According to newspaper El Tiempo, local leaders have requested immediate police reinforcement.
- Twitter feed of Boyaca 7 Dias