The Colombian Penitentiary Service declared a “prison emergency” across the country yesterday after registering several attacks on guards in local prisons that left one officer dead, the Justice Ministry reported.
“We have just unanimously approved the declaration of a prison emergency in the board of Inpec (National Penitentiary and Prison Institute),” Justice Minister Néstor Osuna told the press, emphasizing that the measure is aimed at strengthening security. in prisons
On Saturday, a guard was shot outside the San Sebastián de Ternera prison in Cartagena (north) by two men riding a motorcycle.
Another attack on prison guards was recorded in the municipality of Jamundí (Valle del Cauca, southwest), in which, according to authorities, an unspecified number of Inpec guards were injured. According to local media, it was a shooting attack.
In addition, “threatening brochures were discovered in various prisons,” a ministry bulletin said.
In response to the attacks, a prison officers’ union had threatened a strike if action was not taken.
“The prison emergency serves two purposes: to protect the lives and integrity of prison guards and to completely eliminate extortion and corruption in prisons,” Osuna explained.
One of the first measures, according to the minister, will be the appointment of a “special prosecutor to (investigate) homicides against Inpec guards and another special prosecutor for cases of prison extortion and corruption.”
On Sunday, Osuna announced a “police reinforcement around all prisons in the country” and support for the armed forces to protect the lives and freedom of guards.
“Criminal structures must know that the rule of law will prevail and we will oblige them to comply with the law,” he warned at the time.
The prison emergency in Colombia comes at a time when there is a serious security crisis in neighboring Ecuador, where about twenty criminal groups have shown violent shows of force in prisons in retaliation for the government’s tough policies in the fight against the onslaught of drug trafficking and gang groups.
According to official figures, the Colombian prison system holds more than 190,000 prisoners in severely overcrowded detention centers.
…and also in Peru
- Peru declared a state of emergency in two provinces yesterday, allowing the armed forces to intervene alongside police amid a rise in extortion and illegal mining gangs.