Authorities revealed that there were 71 kidnappings in Colombia during the first trimester of 2009.
This works out on average, to a kidnapping every 30 hours.
The statistic was released by Fondelibertad, a government body in charge of dealing with the issue of kidnapping. Accurate and up-to-date information related to kidnappings is required following recent confusion and controversy generated by
contradictory figures of the number of people currently kidnapped
Fondelibertad also revealed that February 2009 was the blackest month, with 36 kidnappings – more than one a day. In January there were 13 and in March there were 22. Of the 71 kidnappings, 46 were extortionary.
According to Fondelibertad, the figure is down from the same period in 2008, in which 155 people were kidnapped. The overall figure for 2008 was 437 hostages. 400 of them were released.
The exact figure is difficult to calculate, because economically motivated kidnappings are often not reported authorities.
Politically motivated kidnappings by guerrilla organizations such as the FARC are usually high profile. The FARC often labels such hostages ‘canjeables’, meaning that they will only be exchanged for an imprisoned member of the FARC.