An agent of the Metropolitan Police of Cali died and two others were injured in the early hours of Saturday while participating in a deployment to prevent the looting of a supermarket in the Calipso neighborhood, east of the city, confirmed the Colombian Defense Minister, Diego Molano, on his Twitter account.
Molano indicated that the police officer Juan Sebastián Briñez died from a rifle shot. «A rifle shot ended the life of this 22-year-old hero who was defending his country. Solidarity with his family ”, wrote the minister.
President Ivan Duque He pronounced himself in similar terms on his Twitter account: “The vile murder of the patrolman Juan Sebastián Briñez, in Cali, hurts us in the soul. A young 22-year-old hero who defended his country and protected the institutions. I accompany his family and those of the other 2 policemen injured defending Colombia. It is an honor to be a policeman”.
The Cali Metropolitan Police reported that Briñez and the two wounded uniformed men were part of the group that went to the scene while a group of hooded men was looting the supermarket, when an exchange of shots began between civilians and the police.
Minister Molano did not explicitly state that the incident at the supermarket was related to the protests, but shortly after reporting the death of the police officer Briñez, he retweeted his Ministry’s report on the balance of the protests.
With the death of Briñez, there are already two uniformed men who lost their lives since the demonstrations began in the country on April 28 after the announcement of the government’s now-withdrawn tax reform bill. Before him, Captain Jesús Alberto Solano passed away in Soacha, Cundinamarca.
The figures on civilian deaths show discrepancies between those reported by the Ministry of Defense, human rights organizations and the Ombudsman’s Office.
According to the balance of the Ministry of Defense, there are 26 civilians killed from April 28 to midnight on May 21. The Ombudsman’s Office, which has not published data on the victims of violence related to these protests since May 11, reported 42 deaths as of that date.
However, the non-governmental organizations Temblores and Indepaz, which keep alternative accounts of complaints of violence and human rights violations received on their own platforms, have reported at least “51 murders” in the framework of the protests as of May 18.
The balance that the Ministry presented this Saturday includes other data on the events related to the protests:
- There have been 4,579 concentrations, 1,851 marches and 2,229 blockades.
- 26 civilians have died, 15 “related to the protest” and 11 “in the process of clarification and determination if they were in the framework of the protest.”
- 1,037 civilians injured are reported in cities such as Bogotá, Cali, Yumbo, Neiva, Medellín, Pasto and Popayán, and other municipalities of Risaralda and Valle del Cauca.
- 1,029 uniformed injured are reported, of which 6 are still hospitalized.