Medellin will militarize the east and southwest of the city to curb ongoing gang wars that have crippled public life, the city’s mayor announced Tuesday.
According to Medellin Mayor Anibal Gaviria, the military will enter the Comuna 8 district and the neighboring village of San Antonio de Prado, while the air force will provide air support.
“The air force will begin nightly helicopter patrols [and] the citizen compensation measures that allow the localization of criminals and guns will be in place,” Gaviria said at a press conference.
On Tuesday, police found a grenade, 300 rifle cartridges, two radio batteries and other weaponry on a bus filled with passengers heading to the Comuna 8.
In a separate operation, police arrested a 23-year-old man who was carrying a mini uzi, two pistols, five revolvers and ammunition. The man, carrying the arsenal in his backpack, was arrested at the intersection of avenue 15 with street 54 in barrio Villatina.
Local police blame the violence on trouble between local gang leaders “Gomelo” and “Chamizo” and the “Oficina de Envigado,” the crime syndicate that runs most of Medellin’s underground.
Violence has been raging in San Antonio de Prado since last year when 99 people were murdered. Sources within the Mayor’s Office told Colombia Reports that the fighting between gangs that surged in the Comuna 8 two months ago has killed 16.