Uribe announces rescue mission for kidnap victims

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe on Friday announced a mission to rescue seven people kidnapped on Thursday by guerrillas in the country’s Nariño department, reports Colombian media.

Uribe described the event as “grave” and said that the national army had been immediately tasked with finding the people, who were abducted whilst traveling the road between Pasto and Tumaco.

“This road has provided many problems. We are in this moment conducting an operation, looking to rescue all of the kidnapped [people], and we are going to work until they are rescued,” said the president.

Army commander Jorge Ballesteros also spoke of the mission, saying that stealth planes were scanning the region.

“We are on the lookout and we hope that within the next few days it will produce results.”

In an interview on Friday, Nariño’s governor Antonio Navarro said that the location in which the incident suggested took place suggests that it was guerrilla group the ELN which carried out the kidnapping.

Navarro criticized the Colombian government’s hardline “democratic security” policy, in which police and army presence is increased to protect civilians, saying that although the scheme may work well in Bogota, its effectiveness reduces significantly the further one moves from the capital city.

President Uribe said, however, that the incident was a reason to not give up the policy and to not lose focus on its target.

“Because of this we cannot neglect democratic security, we must follow through,” said the president.

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