Four people were killed in combat between gangs and police in western Medellin on Monday.
Fighting broke out in two of the city’s western districts; in the Comuna 13, one gang member and one civilian were killed, and in the Comuna 6, one civilian and one presumed gang member were killed when members of the neighborhood militia opened fire at police.
The firefight in the Comuna 13 seemed to be the result over a territorial conflict between gangs in the neighborhood of La Quiebra.
In both shootings, an unknown number of civilians were injured.
The shooting in the Comuna 6 took place after police interfered at a local party after complaints of noise. According to a Medellin police commander, the neighbors turned aggressive towards the cops, escalating the situation.
“The situation worsened when the policemen began to shoot in the air and later when some people began to open fire at the policemen who then responded and a firefight took place,” police colonel Fabio Rodriguez told local newspaper El Colombiano.
It is the third time in a month that Medellin gangs have engaged in direct combat with the police; on October 21 two policemen were shot dead in the El Salado neighborhood of Comuna 13 and on Sunday three policemen and two civilians were killed in an operation leading up to the arrest of a local militia leader in the eastern Comuna 8.
While the local government insists homicides are down in the city, violence in the west and east of Medellin appears to have escalated this year, particularly after the arrest of “Sebastian,” the leader of crime syndicate the Oficina de Envigado that exercised control over most of the city’s gangs. The gangs belonging to the Oficina have experienced increasing pressure from the neo-paramilitary group the Urabeños, who control the rural areas outside the city and have assumed control of some of the neighborhoods high up in the valley.