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Violent week cancels Colombian festival

Feb. 25, 2013 at 3:30 PM   |   Comments

MEDELLIN, Colombia, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- An art and music festival set for one of Colombia's most violent cities has been canceled because necessary security could not be provided, the organizer said.

Cancellation of the event, planned for last weekend in Medellin's Comuna 13, came after a week of violence in the neighborhood, Colombia Reports said.

Event coordinator Jeison "Heihhco" Castano said the festival was canceled "because the conditions of the district do not provide the security necessary for an event of this scale."

Violence fueled by conflicts between drug operations killed 191 people in the district last year.

On Feb. 16, armed men kidnapped two 11-year-old boys in the district. Police found the boys' bodies the next day, tortured, dismembered and stuffed into bags. The boys' families later received threats they would be killed too if they didn't leave the district.

The threat was delivered by a city police officer, claimed human rights activist Fernando Quijano. City officials denied the allegations.

Eight public and four private schools were evacuated Thursday after two men on a motorbike told a doorman at one of the private schools things "were going to heat up."

Some 80 anti-kidnapping police and 20 officers trained in combating drug trafficking, terrorism and criminal gangs were dispatched to the district by President Juan Manuel Santos Friday. An extra 200 police officers will be sent to the city soon with 1,000 more deployed by the end of the year, he said.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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