Northern Colombian departments are putting more troops on the streets to defend against neo-paramilitaries, but shopkeepers say more needs to be done.
Following a five-hour meeting Sunday, the governors of Cordoba and Antioquia said more forces would be provided in the attempt to restore order, following the shutdown of large parts of Colombia by drug trafficking group Los Urabeños.
However shopkeepers were critical of goverment efforts, particularly their proposal to ban people from using guns in self defense.
Jaime Betancur, president of the Junta Directiva de Fenalco in Cordoba, told W Radio that business owners rejected the ban. They had to be able to defend themselves, he said, because the authorities could not “put an agent or soldier outside every business.”
The governors of Antioquia and Cordoba made a call for members of criminal bands to hand themselves in, reminding them of the benefits that would bring.
Los Urabenos imposed what’s known as an “armed strike” — the forced shutdown of business activity and public transport under threat of violence — last Wednesday, following the killing of their leader “Giovanni.”