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Montevideo, June 21st 2024 - 10:09 UTC



Colombian prison director gunned down by hitmen

Friday, May 17th 2024 - 12:19 UTC
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Col. Fernández had been threatened before. He retired from the Colombian police in 2017 Col. Fernández had been threatened before. He retired from the Colombian police in 2017

Retired Colombian Colonel Elmer Fernández, director of the La Modelo prison in Bogotá, was gunned down by hitmen Thursday, Justice Minister Nestor Osuna confirmed. The assassination was carried out down a national road north of the country's capital, it was explained. Fernández was not driving his vehicle.

“General Salamanca and General Gualdrón have set up an operation in the city of Bogotá to find the perpetrators of this murder and I am leaving immediately for an Extraordinary Security Council in the National Police,” Osuna told reporters. “And, to the murderers, I say that they will not intimidate us and that we will get ahead despite their affronts and insolence,” he added.

The minister also noted that security measures were being upped “in these circumstances” because “we shall not be defeated.”

Upon hearing the news, President Gustavo Petro said on X that Colonel Fernández “had taken over on April 4” and “was carrying out orders to impart discipline and doing random searches” in one of the largest correctional facilities nationwide.

According to Union of Penitentiary Workers (UTP) leader Óscar Robayo, all National Penitentiary and Prison Institute (INPEC) officers are threatened for doing their jobs despite which they have no security schemes.

“INPEC officials feel a lot of pain but also a lot of fear and we see with concern that Colonel Elmer who had been transferred less than two months ago and was doing a very good job is murdered,” Robayo underlined. “We are very distressed all prison workers,” he added. These threats began two years ago when they were ordered to improve the situation in prisons and combat crime inside them, he also explained. So far this year, 5 INPEC officials have been murdered, Robayo also recalled.

Colonel Fernández was a retired National Police officer with a career of nearly 40 years from which he stepped down in 2017. He had been in charge of La Modelo prison in Bogotá for less than two months at the time of his murder. He was reported to have received death threats against him and his family since he took over.

La Modelo prison, with room for 2,900 inmates, houses over 5,000.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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