Kidnapped Colombian governor found dead

Kidnapped Colombian governor found dead


Cuellar’s bound, bullet-riddled body was discovered in Sebastopol, a rural area near Florencia, provincial government secretary Edilberto Ramon Endo told RCN radio.
The governor was abducted by kidnappers wearing Colombian army uniforms who “apparently are with the FARC”, Endo said late on Monday in disclosing the kidnapping.

After hurling a grenade at the front door of the residence, the assailants opened fire, killing one of Cuellar’s police bodyguards before entering the home and seizing the governor.

The abductors bundled the 69-year-old Cuellar into a vehicle and took off in the direction of nearby mountains, Endo said. The governor “has been receiving threats, and we had requested more protection”, Endo said, without offering any details. Colombia’s Defence Minister Gabriel Silva announced the offer of a 1 billion peso reward for information leading to the arrest of the kidnappers.
Silva spoke to the press early on Tuesday at an airbase outside Bogota as he prepared to travel to Caqueta to coordinate the search for the kidnapped politician. Media accounts said armed forces chief Gen. Freddy Padilla, and director of the National Police Gen. Oscar Naranjo, were accompanying the defense minister to Florencia.

Later on Tuesday, President Alvaro Uribe publicly ordered the armed forces to mount a rescue mission.
Caqueta’s jungles and mountains are home to a large presence of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the Andean nation’s largest rebel group, which long pursued a tactic of kidnapping politicians in the hope of trading them for jailed guerrillas.

Within the last two years, however, the FARC unilaterally released most of the civilian captives, while a July 2008 military operation secured the freedom of the rebels’s most valuable prisoners — former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and three US defense contractors.

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