Colombia: October 17, 2004


While the government has been successful in seizing over a hundred million dollars worth of assets belonging to drug criminals, getting rid of these assets has proven difficult. The drug gangs have let it be known that anyone taking possession of these assets will be killed by one of the gangs many assassins. And the gangs have plenty of trained killers. Some gangs even recruit kids, as young as eight, to be trained as professional hit men. Using young boys has a major advantage in that most people don't expect an innocent looking ten year old to walk up behind you and pump two bullets (often .22 caliber, so the recoil won't throw the little kid off his aim) into your head. The gangs show the kids how to use the guns, ultimately practicing on dogs, to make sure the child is up to actually killing. The kids are also shown how to discretely stalk their prey, and then get safely away. Like any professional, the young killer throws away the murder gun after the hit and then disappears into the crowd. Just another kid. Under current Colombian law, killers that young are very difficult to prosecute. For a poor kid, often an orphan, from the slums, the prospect of getting better clothes, some money, and respect accorded a professional killer, is incentive enough. Sometimes, if the kid kills someone with the right kind of friends, a contract is put out on the young assassin. Most Colombians are fed up with all of this, the drug trade, and ten year old hit men and the endless violence. Public opinion turning against the gangs, rebels and all the violence, has led to the increased army and police success against the gunmen.


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