Referential file image. The Army will patrol gas stations in Soledad and Barranquilla. /kavak
Following the cessation of activities proposed by Fendipetróleo in the face of threats and extortion by illegal armed groups of which the owners and workers of the gas stations in Barranquilla and Soledad (Atlántico) have been victims, the authorities confirmed that both the Army and The National Police will provide permanent monitoring at these points.
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Within the framework of a Security Council in which high-ranking officers of the Metropolitan Police and the National Army participated, the mayor of Soledad, Rodolfo Ucrós, confirmed that the uniformed officers will permanently monitor the gas stations located on Calle 18 de said municipality.
The intervention in Soledad, according to what Ucrós said, began at 1:00 in the afternoon on Wednesday, June 28.
“It will be a permanent accompaniment to those seven service stations that are located in that part of the municipal territory. This accompaniment will be permanent until the situation begins to improve visibly here in the municipality of Soledad”, indicated the mayor of Soledad.
Referential file image. Armed groups have extorted and threatened gas station workers in Barranquilla and Soledad. /Colpress
According to the mayor, the objective will be to prevent the population and the workers of the municipal gas stations from continuing to be victims of intimidation, as has happened in recent weeks.
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“Strong and differential actions are being implemented in response to what happened in the service stations, the commercial sector and the motorcycle union,” said the mayor of Soledad, referring to the death of Ángela Jarith Jaramillo Ariza, the 12-year-old girl who died on June 26 after being shot by criminals who fired indiscriminately at the house where he lived.
Days before, on June 24, a 50-year-old man, identified as Tomás Segundo Molinares Malvido, was murdered in the Juan Domínguez Romero neighborhood, in the municipality of Soledad. The citizen worked as a worker at the Puma service station, located on Calle 18 with Carrera 16.
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Versions known by Semana magazine suggest that Molinares was working when unidentified subjects arrived at the gas station posing as customers, and then shot him.
Stock image. Authorities called on the inhabitants of Barranquilla and Soledad to denounce the cases of extortion. /Jesús Áviles-Infobae Colombia
The newspaper El Heraldo learned that the security situation in the two municipalities led to the temporary closure of three service stations in Soledad and four in Barranquilla.
In dialogue with the aforementioned outlet, the director of the Citizen Security Observatory and professor-researcher at the Universidad del Norte, Janiel David Melamed, pointed out that the cessation of activities at the gas stations in Barranquilla could put the mobility of citizens at risk.
“This issue obviously has the potential to become a new situation that limits the normal mobility of Barranquilla and the metropolitan environment. The news talks about stations in Soledad, but if we carry out the union analysis, the potential risk is in Barranquilla,” warned Melamed.
Given the worrying panorama, the mayor of Soledad called on affected citizens and unions to report cases of extortion or threats of which they are victims, in order to be able to carry out the respective investigations.
“The institutionality is with the merchants. This situation that has been occurring in recent days in some service stations really worries us greatly and we are going to provide them with permanent support so that they can continue to function,” said the mayor in dialogue with Caracol Radio.
Immediately afterwards, Ucrós sentenced: “We cannot allow these criminals to continue intimidating good Soledeños.”