Police chief says exorcism and prayers used to fight crime and cartels in Colombia: ‘Devil is certain’

Colombian police chief says he and other officers use exorcism and prayers to tackle crime and the country’s most powerful criminals, including drug cartel leaders Pablo Escobar.

Sitting in his office surrounded by crucifixes, statues of the Virgin Mary and other Catholic symbols, General Henry Sanabria told local media Saturday that these religious practices have been a force in the South American country for the past 50 years. He said he had helped the police throughout the conflict.

As examples, he recalled the police operation in which Escobar (1993), FARC guerrilla leader Alfonso Cano (2011), and his military chief known as “Mono Joy” (2010) were killed. .

“The devil exists. I’ve seen him. I’ve felt him,” Sanabria said in an interview with Semana magazine, making the sign of the cross whenever he mentioned the devil.

He told the magazine that a small group of unarmed police officers were recently surrounded by hundreds of violent protesters.

“They picked everything up and walked away,” said Sanabria. “The police saw me. They didn’t dare to ask me what happened.”

Sanabria claimed the criminals used witchcraft and said in one operation police officers were able to kill one by “shooting and praying”.

His remarks sparked a heated debate on social media in Colombia, a secular country with a Catholic tradition.

President Gustavo Petro did not express any concerns.

“We know the general’s beliefs, but we try to keep these beliefs from affecting the rules. It’s as simple as that,” he said. I think he respects them.”

An earlier statement by the police chief also caused controversy.

Sanabria opposes abortion, which is legal in Colombia up to the 24th week of pregnancy, and the use of condoms, which he called “the abortion method.”

Last October, he described Halloween as a “satanic” holiday and tweeted about Women’s Day on March 8, which was accused of being sexist.

“A woman’s charm makes her husband happy, and if she keeps her reason, it lasts. A modest woman is a gift from the Lord,” he wrote.

Colombian Police Commissioner General Henry Sanabria speaks at a press conference in Bogota, Colombia, on October 24, 2022, the day after his convoy was attacked during anti-government protests.

Sebastian Ross/NurPhoto via Getty Images

These days, Colombia also adopts more traditional methods to tackle crime and drug trafficking.Earlier this month, the country’s navy launched two so-called “Narcosub” — A semi-submersible vessel carrying large amounts of cocaine.One of the ships also had two corpses on board.

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