HomeNewsBrief8 Killed in Massacre on Colombia-Venezuela Border
BRIEF

8 Killed in Massacre on Colombia-Venezuela Border

COLOMBIA / 11 NOV 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

A reported clash between criminal groups the Rastrojos and the Urabeños left eight dead along the Colombia-Venezuela border, which, if true, would suggest that the power struggle between these two organizations in this strategic region remains intense.

On November 10, the Colombian ambassador to Venezuela, Luis Eladio Perez, confirmed that eight people were massacred in the Venezuelan border state of Zulia over the weekend, reported Blu Radio. Initial reports were mixed regarding the number of people of killed,  as well as the identities of the perpetrators and the victims. 

According to Venezuela's La Nacion, an unidentified source linked to the investigation into the massacre said that those killed were members of the Rastrojos, and that the perpetrators were the Urabeños. Police in the Venezuelan state of Tachira said a Rastrojos commander and his deputy were among the victims, reported La Nacion. 

Police separately told media off the record that the victims were thought to be members of the Aguilas Negras -- another Colombian criminal group -- or the Rastrojos, who worked extorting farmers in the region, reported El Pais.

Blu Radio reported that Venezuelan authorities were still working to establish whether the victims and perpetrators were members of these criminal groups. 

According to El Pais, six of the victims displayed signs of torture and multiple bullet wounds. Meanwhile, two cadavers found nearby had been beheaded. 

Five of the victims have been identified as Colombian nationals, reported El Tiempo.

InSight Crime Analysis

While the sequence of events surrounding the massacre remains unclear, it wouldn't be the first time that Colombian criminal groups have clashed along the Venezuelan frontier. Both the Rastrojos and the Urabeños are known to have a significant presence in the Venezuela border region, and have been disputing the territory for several years. At one point, the Rastrojos was the most powerful BACRIM (from the Spanish acronym for "criminal bands") in the region, but the group has been in decline since their top leadership was captured in 2012. The Urabeños, meanwhile, has established a significant power base in the border area, setting up training camps in Venezuela and allegedly recruiting Venezuelan nationals into its ranks.

SEE ALSO: BACRIM in Venezuela Profile

BACRIM groups are known to operate in Venezuelan border states including Zulia, Apure, and Tachira -- where another BACRIM-attributed massacre took place earlier this year. The border region is highly strategic for drug traffickers looking to control routes through Venezuela -- the main transit hub for Colombian cocaine -- as well as for contraband runners.   

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

COLOMBIA / 30 DEC 2014

Welcome to InSight Crime's Game Changers for 2014, where we highlight the year's most important trends in organized crime in…

COLOMBIA / 11 FEB 2014

Colombia's ombudsman's office has warned how guerrilla militias and narco-paramilitary groups have made the department of Valle del Cauca and…

VENEZUELA / 26 AUG 2014

An investigation into violence in neighborhoods in Venezuela's capital Caracas has highlighted how heavily armed and increasingly sophisticated youth gangs…

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.