Eight killed in Colombian coca-growing area

Eight people were killed in a shooting overnight in one of Colombia’s main coca-growing regions, officials said Sunday.

The exact motive of the killings in the town of Samaniego in Narino department was not known.

President Ivan Duque condemned the slaughter and vowed to catch the killer or killers.

In the past two months 20 people have been gunned down in Samaniego, which has a population of 50,000, said Narino governor Jhon Rojas.

Narino borders Ecuador and is one of Colombia’s main areas for growing coca leaves, the raw material for making cocaine.

Its strategic location makes it a favored route for smuggling drugs north to Central America and the US. 

So it has been fought over by leftist FARC rebel holdouts who rejected a 2016 peace accord, drug traffickers and fighters with a still active rebel group called the National Liberation Army.

Colombia is the world’s largest producer of cocaine and the US is the main consumer of the drug.