Colombian government strengthens offensive against 'Otoniel' group after days of violence

(May 4) ‘Otoniel’ boards a plane in Bogotá to be extradited – Colombian Presidency/AFP

The Colombian government has reinforced its military offensive against the Clan del Golfo, a drug trafficking group that has paralyzed dozens of municipalities in northern Colombia through threats, in retaliation for the extradition of its leader, Dairo Antonio Úsuga, known as “Otoniel”.

This Sunday, about 2,000 military and police joined the troops trying to put an end to the “armed strike” imposed by Otoniel’s organization, according to Defense Minister Diego Molano.

The offensive against the Gulf Clan involves a total of 52,000 soldiers and police in the organization’s areas of influence, which, according to official estimates, handles between 30% and 60% of the cocaine produced in Colombia, the world’s largest producer of the drug. that drug.

The mafia clan responds to the delivery of Otoniel to American justice last week, after his capture in October. In almost 90 municipalities in nine of the 32 Colombian departments, it has carried out “violent actions” since Thursday, which mainly affect commerce and transport, through death threats and the incineration of 169 vehicles.

The number of civilian or law enforcement casualties is unknown. President Iván Duque announced an intense persecution against the new clan chiefs.

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