miércoles, 18 de junio de 2008

A night in patrol

La Hormiga is a little city of 20.000 people situated in the southern part of Putumayo, 50 km from the boarder with Ecuador.

Since a year, police and soldiers have managed to control the city and surroundings, from the paramilitary and guerrilla groups that where operating in this area as in all Putumayo.

To maintain the control of the city they patrol day and night constantly, not only for military reason but to make the people feel more secure.

At night police is patrolling the center and the boarder of the city, soldiers are patrolling the rural surroundings.

Flash photography is not permitted, the lights of the jeeps are setting on just when the area is secured from the team.

Police is stopping the convoy to check out a brothel, the violence in the city is at an alert level in the red district, two days before this patrol a 17 year old prostitute has been killed with four shoots in the head, prostitutes are a very good font of information and sometimes they knows too much.

After a emergency call we rush towards a street just outside the city center, a girl has just been stabbed, she will tell me after, that a man attacked her while she was going back home, fighting and screaming has made the man nervous and he stabbed her before abort the sexual attack.
The man is captured shortly after.

The gasoline station of the city is constantly under surveillance, is one of the most dangerous place to work, not only guerrilla and paramilitary wants gasoline but also common people can introduce them self with a gun asking to fill up their tanks.

At late night soldiers are walking outside the city, is a routine patrol, the risk of an ambush is very high but those soldiers are use to shoot every day, and they don't wear helmets unless there is a big fights.

The Patrol is getting throughout a rural part around a petrol refinery, the act of sabotage to the pipe lines is a daily aspect of the war.
The soldiers are patrolling only by walking in a strict silence and communicating by hands.

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