The situation in north Colombia, where neo-paramilitary group “Los Urabeños” shut down all businesses and public transport last week, has returned to normal, police said Monday.
According to the police, authorities have arrested 60 members of illegal armed groups like the Urabeños in the first ten days of 2012. 48 arrests were made in the between Wednesday and Friday when the Urabeños imposed an “armed strike.”
Interior Minister German Vargas Lleras reiterated that the government will continue to combat neo-paramilitary groups and drug trafficking organizations formed from the old cartels and that members of these groups will be submitted to justice if they surrender or are arrested.
According to Vargas Lleras, the armed strike imposed on an area the size of Switzerland last week shows the government’s aggressive approach towards groups like the Urabeños is working.
“The government has a well-defined policy it has been carrying out. The threats made reflect the success of this policy and the operation that killed their leader, alias “Giovanni,” the minister told newspaper El Espectador.
Colombia has numerous illegal armed groups dedicated to drug trafficking. The strongest of these groups the Urabeños and ERPAC were formed by demobilized members of paramilitary organization AUC while groups like “Los Machos” or “Los Rastrojos” are made out of former members of the Norte del Valle cartel.