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News > Latin America

Over 30 Injured in Colombia Grenade Explosion

  • Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos speaks during celebrations of a year of peace signing in Bogota.

    Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos speaks during celebrations of a year of peace signing in Bogota. | Photo: Reuters

Published 30 December 2017

Police suspect members of the Gulf Clan drug trafficking group are responsible.

Over 30 people are injured, 11 gravely, after a grenade went off in a dance club in a town in Antioquia, Colombia late Friday night. 

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Two suspects connected the bombing are in custody, said Victoria Ramirez, secretary of government for the Antioquia department. She affirmed that the suspects were armed.

Authorities said that some victims received injuries as a result of a subsequent stampede to evacuate the building immediately after the explosion.

While the case is still under investigation, it’s highly likely the crime was committed by members of the Gulf Clan drug trafficking group, said Colonel Carlos Sierra Niño. He said the explosion happened in an act of revenge against the owner of the night club, Bora Bora, for not paying an extortion amount.

The Gulf Clan is Colombia’s most powerful and influential criminal organization with cells across the country. It’s leader, Dairo Antonio Usuga, is the most wanted man in Colombia and the U.S. government has a reward of US$5 million regarding his whereabouts. The Gulf Clan is also involved in illegal mining.

The armed forces branch of the clan, the Gaitanist Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AGC, said they would “unilaterally cease” armed conflict in cooperation with the government of President Juan Manuel Santos.

Santos responded to the declaration, saying “any act to decrease violence is welcome, but that doesn’t mean we'll decrease pressure on the organization.”

El Espectador reported that since 2015, the Gulf Clan and the AGC has reduced in size from 4,000 to approximately 1,800 current affiliates.

Last May, AGC leaders said they "promised" a violent campaign of "torture and death" to show “who rules this country.”

“We declare as military targets all human rights organizations, unions, land activists, defenders of FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and ELN prisoners, those who do reports on human rights, members of political organizations of the FARC, the People's Congress, the Patriotic Union and the Patriotic March,” the AGC said in its written statement.

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