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12 Aug 01:55 AM UTC

Colombia: Police bus attacked August 10 near Medellín

Unidentified group attacks police bus with explosives near Medellín August 10; no injuries reported

TIMEFRAME expected from 10/18/2017, 10:41 PM until 10/18/2017, 10:41 PM (America/Bogota).

COUNTRY/REGION Caribbean coast

Event

A bus carrying 35 policemen in Bello (near Medellín) was attacked with explosives at 23:20 (local time) on Thursday, August 10. No injuries were reported. The Medellín-Bogotá highway was temporarily closed while authorities searched the area for further threats. No suspect has been named as of Friday, August 11, however reports indicate that the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC) may be to blame.

Context

Paramilitary crime organizations (BACRIM) such as the AGC have replaced leftist guerrillas as the most serious armed threat in Colombia. These groups are involved in a variety of illicit activities, including drug-trafficking, smuggling, illegal mining, extortion, and assassinations. BACRIM groups have begun expanding into territories vacated by the FARC, leading to a rise in violence, including assassinations of local landowners and community leaders. The government has pledged to increase the presence of security forces in these areas, but the deployment has been slow. The AGC is believed to have some 8000 members and controls many drug smuggling routes along the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of the country.

Advice

Due to the presence of a number of armed groups - including organized crime groups, drug cartels, right-wing militias, local gangs, and the ELN rebel group - many Western governments advise against travel to various regions of the country, particularly rural zones, with the notable exceptions of the northern Caribbean regions and central areas (including Bogotá).