Police in Bogotá, Colombia, in 2017 / Nelson Hache / Shutterstock
Denver Newsroom, Jul 30, 2022 / 10:22 am (CNA).
The Colombian Bishops’ Conference expressed its condolences to the National Police “for the loss of numerous members” so far in 2022. The officers were killed by crime gangs, especially the Clan del Golfo.
Son 36 héroes de la patria: mujeres y hombres policías; hijos, padres, hermanos, líderes de las comunidades colombianas. Agradecemos todas las expresiones de apoyo, respeto y admiración a nuestra Policía Nacional. #EsUnHonorSerPolicía pic.twitter.com/BrLIhE345Y
— General Jorge Luis Vargas Valencia (@DirectorPolicia) July 28, 2022
So far this year, 36 police officers have been killed and more than 60 injured. According to the director of the National Police, Gen. Jorge Luis Vargas Valencia, the officers have been victims of the so-called “pistol plan” of the criminal organization known as the Clan del Golfo.
In a July 27 letter addressed to Vargas, the bishops expressed their “heartfelt condolences for the loss of many members of the National Police.”
“We want to extend these sentiments to all the families of the police officers who fell in the line of duty,” the conference said.
In the letter, the Colombian prelates renewed their “gratitude for the selfless dedication of all the officers that make up the police force that form an institutional presence in the various regions and territories of our beloved Colombian nation.”
The bishops called on the faithful to participate in the day of prayer promoted by the Diocese for the Military on July 28 “and on Saturday to pray to the Lord of Life for the National Police and for a country at peace and reconciled.”
As part of the day of prayer, the Diocese for the Military offered a Mass at the Religious Center of the National Police in Bogotá.
The Eucharist was offered by the vicar general of the Diocese for the Military, Msgr. Jorge Hincapié, who called on the faithful to honor “the memory of all the heroes of our country” who gave “their lives wanting to build a great country, respected and free.”
During the homily, he asked those present “to place in the hands of the Creator every police officer who during this last month, this year, every year, has given his life on the altar of the country. Young and older police officers who, without measuring the consequences of their choice for God and country, have sacrificed their own lives seeking the good of all our compatriots.”
“We ask God to embrace you in his infinite and kindly mercy,” Hincapié said.
He also remembered the officers “who, mutilated by the dark, cowardly and destructive weapons and of the concealed enemy, continue to give us an example of overcoming, gallantry, and patriotism with their love for the country” and encouraged the police officers to tell God every day: “I trust in you, because you are the refuge in danger.”
Masses are also being celebrated in other parts of the country for the repose of the souls of the murdered policemen.
In a statement to Colombian media, the director of the National Police said that the objective of the Clan del Golfo with its “pistol plan” is to counteract the capture of several of its leaders.
The former leader of the Clan del Golfo, Dairo Antonio Úsuga David (alias Otoniel), was captured and extradited to the United States to face drug charges. Three other members of the gang — Yonny Cano Linares, Camilo Henrique Hernández Torres, and Jorge Eliecer Castaño Toro — could also soon be sent to the U.S. on drug trafficking charges.
In a July 21 release signed by some 30 criminal organizations, the Clan del Golfo proposed to the president-elect of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, a ceasefire beginning Aug. 7 on the condition that its members not be imprisoned.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.