Nine young men were found murdered in separate incidents in the northern provinces of Atlantico and Antioquia, Colombian authorities said.

Four bodies were discovered in a barren field near the hamlet of Soledad, Atlantico, police Gen. Oscar Perez told reporters in Barranquilla, the provincial capital.

The victims were bound hand and foot and each of them was shot at least two times, he said, adding that the killings bore the hallmarks of a score-settling between drug gangs.

Perez did not provide the names of the dead, saying only that none of them was older than 20 and that all had criminal records.

Police in Marinilla, Antioquia, found the bodies of five men in the trunk of a vehicle. The city clerk, Adriana Gomez Tamayo, said authorities were working to identify the victims and determine the motive for the killings.

The five men ranged in age from 20 to 25, Gomez said.