Outside the Modelo prison BogotaTransito/X

Colombia is grappling with a new front of violence after a mutiny in one of its largest prisons resulted in the death of its warden, effectively carrying out a threat that the warden had received last week.

The incident follows a decision by the government to declare a "prison emergency" amid increased riots, homicides and attacks against personnel in facilities across the country. The director of the country's prison system told EFE news agency that over 550 death threats have been recorded so far.

Colombian president Gustavo Petro announced on Thursday immediate measures to capture the killers of Élmer Fernández, who had taken office just last month. "We've established a plan and hold an extraordinary security council to implement measures in prisons across the country," Petro said in a publication on X, formerly Twitter.

Fernández had gotten a threatening note days ago warning him not to conduct searches in the prison. It was signed by a man whose alias is "Pedro Pluma." "If you conduct searches again I'll kill your family. You'll see that I do have power. If you move me, I'll kill your family," reads the note, signed on May 9.

The warden was killed while driving on his car on a highway. Different officials criticized the fact that he didn't have any custody nor bulletproof vehicles to move around even though authorities were aware of the threats against him.

The new security front adds to other open ones for the Petro administration, who took office promising an agenda of "total peace." Analyst Joshua Collins, who specializes in Colombian affairs, wrote in Pirate Wire services that his discourse has become increasingly aggressive as a result of different setbacks.

The president "seems to have lost his patience with some of the armed groups who have been party to negotiations with the government," said Collins. Another example of this is the reaction to the theft of military equipment from two army bases in the country. Even though figures seem to be lower than what the president initially reported, he vowed to go after those involved.

Petro has also promised a "full offensive" against armed group EMC, after a series of clashes between its members and the army over left four soldiers dead. "This merciless terrorist harasses local communities, orders attacks and beheadings of soldiers, something that constitutes a grave violation of human rights and disregard for international humanitarian law," the ministry of Defense said about the issue.

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