The problem, which reportedly affects five schools in the Barrio Limonar, was brought to the attention of the authorities by mothers of students who complained that their children were being prevented from going to school if they refused to pay.
A father of one of the pupils, who asked to remain anonymous, told El Colombiano newspaper that the money is taken from the children by other kids acting as racketeers for local gangs, who then make the drop to thugs who arrive on motorbikes in front of the school. While 25 to 50 cents may not sound like a lot of money, the father pointed out that it adds up to a not insignificant income when considering that some schools have 1500 students.
Arnulfo Serna, Medellin Secretary of Security, on Thursday told reporters that the issue is being addressed.
“We are listening to the community’s problems and will implement action with the GAULA [elite hostage rescue force] to end this phenomenon that, of course, can not continue,” said Serna.
Barrio Limonar is experiencing a conflict between two different street gangs, the “Chicorios” from sector one of the neighborhood and the “Bifas” from Limonar 2.