BOGOTA, Colombia — The Gulf Clan drug cartel shut down dozens of cities in northern Colombia for 4 days in response to its chief being extradited to the U.S. for trial. It warned that anybody who disobeyed the stay-at-home order risked being shot or having their car burned.
Companies closed, colleges stayed shut, intercity bus service was suspended and an expert soccer match couldn’t be performed after one of many groups refused to journey to the sport.
The Gulf Clan’s “armed stoppage” decree was issued Thursday in pamphlets and What’sApp messages following the extradition of Dairo Antonio Usuga — also called Otoniel — to the USA, the place he faces drug trafficking costs.
The motion gave the impression to be winding down Monday, in line with experiences from human rights teams and the Roman Catholic Church, after underlining that the cartel continues to be a significant safety risk regardless of Otoniel’s extremely publicized arrest final yr.
Analysts mentioned the cartel’s potential to close down a number of cities highlighted shortcomings within the authorities’s lengthy battle in opposition to drug trafficking teams.
An image of Colombian drug lord Dairo Antonio Usuga, aka Otoniel, is displayed on a screedn as Jap District of New York Legal professional Breon Peace speaks throughout a press convention about his extradition in New York Metropolis.AFP by way of Getty Photographs
“The safety technique of specializing in excessive profile targets doesn’t assure safety for civilians,” mentioned Elizabeth Dickinson, a senior analyst on the Worldwide Disaster Group.
Camilo Gonzalez, the president of Colombian suppose tank Indepaz, mentioned: “Drug trafficking won’t finish with the seize of Otoniel. After they captured Pablo Escobar they mentioned drug trafficking could be over, and at the moment there’s extra of it than again then.”
In response to Colombia’s Ministry of Protection, three civilians and three cops have been killed through the 4 days of the shutdown and greater than 180 automobiles have been burned for apparently violating the cartel’s order, totally on rural highways.
Even worse numbers have been reported by the Particular Jurisdiction for Peace, a tribunal created following the 2016 peace deal between the Colombian authorities and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia insurgent group.
The tribunal mentioned 24 civilians have been slain in areas coated by the Gulf Clan’s stoppage, which it mentioned compelled individuals to remain residence in 138 municipalities within the northern provinces of Choco, Sucre, Bolivar, Antioquia and Cordoba.
In Monteria, a provincial capital of virtually 500,000 residents, commerce shut down for 4 days and the native gasoline firm stopped delivering cylinders to properties. A soccer match between native crew Jaguares and a membership from Medellin was suspended Sunday as a result of the guests refused to journey to Monteria in concern their bus could be attacked by cartel enforcers.
The Gulf Clan, which additionally calls itself the Gaitanista Self Protection Forces of Colombia, was based within the first decade of this century by leaders of paramilitary teams that refused to hitch a demobilization settlement through which different teams took half.
Otoniel, the Gulf Clan’s most up-to-date chief, had lengthy been a fixture on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s most-wanted record.
He was first indicted in 2009 in Manhattan federal court docket on narcotics costs and for allegedly aiding a far proper paramilitary group designated as a terrorist group by the U.S. authorities. Later indictments in Brooklyn and Miami federal courts accused him of smuggling at the least 73 metric tons of cocaine into the USA between 2003 and 2014.
Colombian authorities have sought to minimize the cartel’s stoppage, saying they deployed 52,000 troopers to make sure the safety of civilians within the affected areas.
Police escort Dairo Antonio Usuga, middle, also called “Otoniel,” chief of the violent Clan del Golfo cartel previous to his extradition to the U.S., at a navy airport in Bogota, Colombia.AP
President Ivan Duque mentioned Saturday that actions taken by the cartel’s members have been “remoted incidents” aimed toward intimidating locals insisting that the group is now weaker and its management has been fragmented.
Police supplied rewards of greater than $1 million for the seize of three males who’ve been recognized because the clan’s new leaders. However critics of the federal government mentioned the clan’s days are removed from over.
“The federal government can eradicate essential leaders,” mentioned Gonzalez, the Indepaz suppose tank president. “However this can be a a mafia community that additionally contains politicians and cash launderers. And additionally it is concerned in human trafficking, unlawful gold mining and different companies.”