The ongoing conflict between armed groups in Medellin has brought bus transport in the southwest of Colombia’s second city to a standstill.
The transport halt, affecting four major routes serving the southwest of the city, began on Monday, as groups demanded extortion money from the Cooperativa de Transportes Belén bus company, which serves the routes.
Especially affected was the neighborhood of Belen, which was all but cut off from the rest of the city amid reports of gang members physically preventing commuters entering buses.
Following the stoppage, Medellin Government Secretary Mauricio Faciolince met with the city’s Metropolitan Police Commander General Yesid Vasquez to find a solution which guarantees the security of operators and commuters.
The southwest of the city is a particularly contentious area, with different groups vying for control. The latest halt was understood to have occurred as a result of individual bus drivers refusing to pay the normal $25 weekly levy to two separate groups.
This latest event follows a long line of bus route paralysis inflicted by Medellin’s armed groups since 2009. The problems developed from a split within the group previously in control of the city, known as the “Oficina of Envigado.”
The latest transport freeze occurred close to the Urabeños stronghold, the western Comuna 13.