HomeNewsBrief5 Killed in Colombia Gold Town Massacre
BRIEF

5 Killed in Colombia Gold Town Massacre

COLOMBIA / 4 JUN 2012 BY MIKE KANE EN

Five people, including one minor, were murdered in a small village in Antioquia in an attack believed to be part of a larger struggle between criminal groups in Colombia for control of unlicensed mining operations.

Another three people were wounded after gunmen opened fire in a village bar, early morning June 3 in Remedios municipality.

Remedios is traditionally one of Colombia’s most prolific gold-producing districts, and is home to the country’s largest underground gold mine. Several Canadian-based companies, including Gran Colombia Gold and Tolima Gold, currently operate exploration and production projects in the municipality.

Antioquia police commander Jose Gerardo Acevedo said the assailants are members of the Gaitanistas, a name usually used interchangeably with the Urabeños. It is believed the attack was part of the larger ongoing struggle between the Urabeños and Rastrojos, two criminal gangs, over control of unlicensed mining operations in the area. Acevedo said another rural police squadron would be dispatched to the region to tighten security, bringing the total number of mobile police units to four.

InSight Crime Analysis

The attack in Remedios may attract attention from the highest levels of government, thanks to the number of foreign multinationals with exploration activities here. The pressure is on President Juan Manuel Santos' administration to show that it can maintain security conditions in some of the most under-developed, conflict-ridden parts of Colombia where many foreign mining corporations now have interests.

In one possible indication of the seriousness of the attack, Governor of Antioquia Sergio Fajardo commented that illegal mining operations are more lucrative than drug trafficking. This view is increasingly expressed by Colombian officials, and may be intended to imply that the government plans to treat unlicensed mining as one of their new top security concerns. Colombia’s mining and energy minister said last year that unlicensed mining "should be given the same treatment as drug trafficking," while former National Police Chief General Oscar Naranjo recently said that his successor’s biggest challenge would be combating unlicensed mining, a growing source of income for organized crime.

Rebel group the FARC and other armed groups either extort or directly control mining operations in about half of Colombia’s municipalities, the police have said. But the level of control that these criminal groups wield over mining operations can vary greatly. Groups like the Rastrojos usually tax mining equipment or the amount of material produced per mine.


View Remedios, Antioquia in a larger map

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BOLIVIA / 18 FEB 2011

Bolivian police suspect that former members of the Norte Del Valle Cartel have infiltrated their borders, following the dismantling of…

COLOMBIA / 22 APR 2019

A new United Nations report has revealed a scandalous increase in the number of massacres carried out in Colombia, revealing…

COLOMBIA / 11 JAN 2013

Representatives of the ELN guerrilla group were expelled from Cuba after an unauthorized attempt to join peace talks…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.