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News > Latin America

Stray Bullets Kill One Colombian Every Week: New Report

  • Stray bullets have killed 55 Colombians and injured a further 59 so far this year, according to new statistics by the Resource Center for Conflict Analysis (CERAC).

    Stray bullets have killed 55 Colombians and injured a further 59 so far this year, according to new statistics by the Resource Center for Conflict Analysis (CERAC). | Photo: Commons Wikimedia

Published 15 December 2017
Opinion

The majority of deaths by stray bullet were reported in Cali, Medellín, Barranquilla, Bogotá and Cartagena, mostly as a result of violent clashes between armed gangs.

Stray bullets have killed 55 Colombians and injured a further 59 so far this year, according to new statistics by the Resource Center for Conflict Analysis (CERAC).

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Released Friday, the data indicate that, on average, one person is killed every week in crossfire. As a result, CERAC is now calling on the authorities to tighten existing gun controls.

Although the total number of incidents has fallen by 35 percent since 2016, when 176 cases of death and injury were reported, the number of people affected remains high. 

Last year, 50 people were killed by stray bullets, the report notes. This year, that figure has increased by 10 percent. The majority of victims are male: 49 percent of cases versus 46 percent female. The remaining victims are children.

"In 2017, the majority of female victims were minors and 36 percent were older," the report states. "In the case of men, one in three victims (29 percent) was a minor. 

"The equitable distribution of the victims, by gender and age, demonstrates the indiscriminate and unjust nature of this phenomenon, mainly in comparison with other types of violence."

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The majority of deaths by stray bullet were reported in the cities of Cali, Medellín, Barranquilla, Bogotá and Cartagena, mostly (36 percent) as a result of violent clashes between armed gangs.

Other causes include violent confrontations between the public and armed forces; personal disputes; bullets being fired into the air; robberies and fights.

Prosecution of those responsible for stray bullets "remains almost nil," according to the report, which highlights Colombia’s enduring culture of impunity.

Research indicates that 48 percent of cases are still being investigated; in 37 percent, the situation is ‘unknown’; in 11 percent, an arrest has been made; and in 3 percent, an arrest warrant has been issued.

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