Within a span of 12 hours, three people were assassinated Tuesday in the Colombian city of Valledupar, the capital of the northern Cesar department.
The three victims, aged 17, 19 and 21 respectively, were killed Tuesday in separate attacks, reported local newspaper El Pais Vallenato.
The 21-year-old Melquisedec Garcia Gonzalez was in his house having a conversation with a friend, when suddenly two armed men on motorcycle passed by and killed him with eight bullets to the chest.
The body of 19-year-old Leonardo Mario Zuleta was found with four bullet wounds in the chest, reported the newspaper.
The last victim, 17-year-old Jose David Peña Becerra, was murdered in the Mareigua neighborhood in the south of Valledupar.
The Cesar department has seen an increase in homicides in 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. In early February, local authorities reported there had been 36 homicides during the first month of this year, compared to 20 in January 2012.
Cesar’s poverty rates are among the highest in Colombia.
FACT SHEET: Colombian poverty and inequality statistics
The commander of the Cesar department’s police force, colonel Juan Pablo Guerrero, said in early February it was crucial to “neutralize the actions of illegal armed groups” in order to improve security in the department.