New Year violence across Colombia kills 24

New Year violence across Colombia kills 24
A boy sells yellow flowers, used for New Year's rituals, at a street of Bogota, Colombia.

BOGOTA - New Year celebrations in Colombia were marred by violence as 24 people died in various incidents across the country, a drop in deaths from last year, officials said.

There were 33 per cent fewer deaths as the violence-wracked country rang in 2015, according to police commander Rodolfo Palomino.

He said 98.6 per cent of municipalities did not report any violence.

There were 12 fewer deaths compared to last year, he added, when 36 people were killed in violent incidents.

"New Year in Colombia saw a significant reduction in crime," he told reporters.

Despite the reduction in violent deaths, police recovered 113 guns and 2,056 knives overnight Wednesday, which Palomino said was more than normal.

"That is not a usual number of seizures in one day," he said.

There were more than 70,000 police deployed in Colombia on New Year's Eve, who attended to 3,292 incidents.

Colombia has one of the highest homicide rates in South America, after only Honduras and Venezuela, with 43.9 deaths per 100,000 people according to the United Nations.

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