The U.S. embassy’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) section announces a donation of 288 bulletproof vests and other riot control and security equipment to Colombia’s prison system. INL officer director Brian Harris says the donation is a response to the wave of prison riots that occurred on March 21, as coronavirus fears began to spread.
Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, Justice Minister Margarita Cabello announces that about 4,000 prisoners will be released from the nation’s prisons in order to practice social distancing under house arrest.
Prosecutor-General Carlos Barbosa says that the COVID-19-related prison protests of March 21, which led to guards killing 23 prisoners that night, were instigated by the ELN and by FARC dissident leader Henry Castellanos alias “Romaña,” who is part of the “Nueva Marquetalia” group led by former chief negotiator Iván Márquez. “Romaña” was known during the conflict as a hardliner who pioneered the practice of ransom kidnappings along roads on Bogotá’s outskirts.