‘Army killing of minor’ sparks riots

17 Aug
The Colombian army’s alleged killing of a 16-year-old sparked violence in the eastern department of Norte de Santander. Local authorities say the situation is now under control.

Authorities in the municipality of El Tarra have implemented an alcohol ban and prohibited citizens from carrying arms or driving motorbikes, following a wave of violence triggered by the minor’s death on Sunday night.

The department’s secretary Margarita Silva said the situation is now under control and the prosecutor general will open an investigation into the incident. Community leaders have called for a humanitarian commission to investigate.

A community leader, who wished to remain anonymous, told Caracol Radio that the events leading up to the shooting are unclear.

The leader said that shots were fired at the municipality’s military base, and soldiers responded by shooting into a group of nearby civilians, which resulted in the minor’s death.

The incident led to riots in which the mayor’s office and the Agrario Bank were partially destroyed, three vehicles were set on fire, and three people injured. The army tried to subdue the violence by firing shots into the air and releasing tear gas.

According to Caracol Radio “the community” claims the victim “was trying to get on a motorbike when they shot him.”

An army press release stated that the minor belonged to an illegal armed group, and claimed that soldiers had acted in self-defense after they were shot at.

Norte de Santander Governor William Villamizar called for order, and did not rule out implementing a curfew if tensions do not diffuse.

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