While on the way to his brother Hernan Torres’ funeral on Wednesday, Alberto Torres was killed along with two other men. According to newspaper El Colombiano, the three men were shot by two unknown motorcyclists while driving to the San Pedro cemetary.
Two other people, including a nine year old boy who was also in the car, were injured as a result of the attack.
The Torres family who make their living in the gold mining industry has not only suffered the death of Alberto on Wednesday and Hernan who was gunned down on Monday, but also experienced the murder of a third brother, Juan Torres, two years ago. The assassinations, reported Caracol Radio, have been attributed to the alleged “gold wars” occurring in the Antioquia department.
Alberto Torres was the manager of a Santa Rita gold mine, located in the southeast of the Antioquia department.
His brother, Hernan Torres, who was killed Monday night in Medellin, was also in the mining business, along with the two other men killed in the car with Alberto on Wednesday.
The third murdered brother Juan Torres was the former owner of the North Silence Mine, located in Segovia in the northeast of Antioquia.
Allegedly following the 2010 assassination of Juan Torres, the family was forced to leave Segovia to Santa Rita where their gold mining enterprise has increased over the last few years.
Though the success of gold mining has profited the Torres family, it has also brought criminal gangs to the lucrative industry over the past few years. In an attempt to control gold mining, criminal gangs have tried to violently take over the gold mining industry to fund their criminal operations. Notorious gangs such as the “Urabeños” and “Rastrojos” have recently turned to illegal gold mining as a new source of income.
According to the non-governmental organization Insight Crime, in eight of Colombia’s 32 departments criminal gangs and guerrillas have resorted to gold over cocaine production, including in Antioquia.
Allegedly criminal gangs and guerrillas are illegally mining gold, “taking advantage of a nationwide uptick in gold mining, extorting local mining endeavors and raking in bigger and bigger profits,” reported Insight Crime, citing that approximately 86% of gold mined from Colombia is from illegal endeavours, and only aims to get worse.
Energy Minister Federico Renjifo stated on Wednesday at the International Mining Conference that formalizing and legalizing the entire mining sector is crucial to economically benefit Colombia. However, as proven in recent deaths, the “gold wars” have resulted in more than just a loss of money, but blood as well.