Medellin authorities remain committed to protecting the lives of citizens and preventing violent attacks like one in which two policeman and a civilian were killed on Sunday, claimed the city’s mayor Monday.
Medellin Mayor Anibal Gaviria paid a visit Sunday afternoon to the troubled Comuna 13 neighbourhood (see map below) in the city’s west, where a shootout earlier left two policemen and a civilian dead.
According to second city Medellin authorities, a number of policemen were taken under fire while responding to an emergency call in the southwestern El Salado neighbourhood.
Around 80 policemen reportedly then swarmed the area and managed to arrest four suspected gang members.
“The measures that have been implemented… have allowed us to capture four criminals today,” said Gaviria in the hours following the violence. He also pointed to a strengthening of 60 new policemen in the area.
Eager to play down the significance of the latest gun battle, the mayor reminded local media that there have been 68 homicides less this year in the San Javier area compared to 2011. The figure represents a 40% decrease in homicides from last year.
The mayor was joined in his visit by local police commander General Yesid Vasquez, the vice mayor of Institutions, Luis Fernando Suarez, and Security Secretary Eduardo Rojas Leon.
Medellin’s Comuna 13 has been notorious for its high levels of violence since 1999 when paramilitary groups began to take control of the neighborhood. The area is considered to be of strategic importance for drug traffickers given its access to the highways to the Caribbean.