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Disturbing discovery of 12 corpses planted on the streets of Bogotá

Latest NewsDisturbing discovery of 12 corpses planted on the streets of Bogotá

View of the facade of the “house of massages”, a torture center located in the city of Santa Fe, in the center of Bogota.SECRETARY OF SECURITY

In Bogotá, horror rides in carts and garbage bags. For more than a month, the appearance of corpses with signs of torture has terrified residents of different parts of the city. The headlines are repeated with the same formula, but with a change in location: “Police find a body in a plastic bag in the center of Bogotá, in Teusaquillo, in San Cristobal, in Engative or Usma, until at least 12 deaths are added. The latest eerie discovery occurred this Thursday in the town of Kennedy in the southwest of the capital of Colombia. Two Venezuelans, aged 25 and 30, were found dead in a cart, one of those commonly used for recycling. Authorities link the killings to revenge between gangs for drug profits.

Kennedy police chief Luis Acosta confirmed that two Venezuelan migrants, both with a criminal record, died from gunshot wounds and were hit in the skull and back. “They were in an abandoned cart covered with garbage bags,” he explained. The bodies were left at dawn by two men and a woman who had not yet been arrested. Residents of the area called the police after seeing blood dripping down the cart.

The city was barely recovering from the blow of another similar incident. About the corpse of a man found on the street, wrapped in a red mattress and brutally murdered. An autopsy performed by forensic experts from the National Institute of Forensic Medicine showed that he had 161 wounds from a sharp weapon. The report concluded that the death resulted from acts of “extreme violence and cruelty,” prosecutors said.

The arrest of two men accused of transporting and leaving the lifeless body of a man on March 27 in the city center led police to locate the house where he was killed and opened a Pandora’s box regarding the starting point of other murders. It is known as the massage house or the green house, which turned out to be the center of beatings and torture, as was heard during the seizure trial. “There are six criminal cases that relate to this house,” the prosecutor’s office said.

The existence of this place has sparked a long-standing discussion about whether there are so-called pique houses in Bogota, as the places where people are dismembered in Buenaventura, in the Colombian Pacific Ocean are known. It also raised the scale of the problem facing the capital, which has suffered from deteriorating security, which is also reflected in the constant violent street robberies.

The detainees are allegedly involved in the “house of massage” – the house in which torture and murder were committed in the center of Bogotá.NATIONAL POLICE

Bogota’s secretary of security, Anibal Fernández de Soto, downplayed what happened at the massage house, a euphemism for the murder house. “According to the prosecutor’s office, some murders could be connected with the house. But according to an investigation by the Division of Judicial and Criminal Investigations (Sijín), there is no general pattern indicating that systematic murders in this sense are committed in a particular house.

The discovery of corpses in sacks that rocked the city is nothing new. Hugo Acero, a security expert and former security secretary for Bogota City Hall, recalled that six bodies were found in 2019; in 2020, at the most severe moments of quarantine, there were three of them; two cases were registered in 2021 (one of them is associated with femicide); up to 12 this year.

Bogota is a huge city, with a population of seven million, and dozens of criminal gangs converge with organized crime structures. Authorities link the killings to a clash between the two factions. Marisol Gomez, an adviser to Bogota, says there is a correlation with the increase in cocaine production in Colombia. According to the UN, although the amount of acreage in 2020 decreased by 7%, production increased.

“Before, most of the cocaine was exported out of the country; not now. During the pandemic, consumption increased and drug traffickers found cities like Bogota a great place,” says Gomez, who also studied armed conflict. For this reason, he argues, criminal groups such as Clan del Golfo, La Cordillera or Caparrapos, which operate in different parts of the country, have employees in cities and compete for microtraffic spots.

In this cocktail of post-pandemic, unemployment and drug trafficking, Venezuelan migrants are in the middle, Gomez notes. “They are the new breeding ground because they are young people out of work.” More than 1.5 million Venezuelan migrants live in Colombia, and 1,761 people were killed between 2017 and 2021, according to Legal Medicine. The latest police figures show that in 2020, 11,800 Venezuelans were captured for various crimes.

Council member Diego Cancino is urging the mayor’s office to recognize the “size of the problem” and present a more detailed diagnosis of the phenomenon, which scares citizens. “We need to know who is responsible and whether paramilitary methods from years ago in cities like Buenaventura or Barrancabermeja are infiltrating the city of Bogotá. We need a clear diagnosis,” he adds.

Acero believes this goes beyond microtrafficking. “Behind this type of brutal murder and evidence of torture are organized crime structures that operate in a style that was used by Pablo Escobar or paramilitaries in another era.” The expert argues that over the years, local administrations have minimized the influence of these criminal organizations, which, in addition to drug trafficking, are involved in human trafficking and pay daily or in drops (usurious loans that are collected with violence).

Experts say that the authorities should also evaluate the financial capabilities of these structures. “The police and the prosecutor’s office should catch not only those who transport the bodies, usually the homeless, who succumb to this crime, but also those who killed, the authorities who ordered them to be tortured. As long as those who give orders are not stopped, this will continue,” Acero concludes.

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