Colombian authorities Wednesday announced new security measures, including the addition of 500 police, to protect candidates in the lead-up to the presidential elections.
Minister for the Interior Fabio Valencia Cossio gave candidates “complete guarantees” of their safety, while police chief General Oscar Naranjo said that 500 policemen would be “exclusively assigned” to protect the candidates’ safety and that of their families.
Sixteen armoured cars have been assigned to the candidates.
Naranjo also recommended that the presidential hopefuls take necessary measures to protect campaign information against hackers.
The police chief said these were precautionary measures and that there is no direct threat to any of the candidates.
Valencia Cossio said that the government is committed to “impartiality” during the campaign period.
“What the government cannot do is intervene in favor of a particular candidate, and neither the president nor any other official would do so,” Valencia Cossio said.
Colombian police are offering COP100 million (about $50,000) for information that allows authorities to prevent terrorist attacks during the electoral period.
Naranjo said police have stepped up intelligence work in the lead up to the elections, in order to ensure that no terrorist attacks occur.
The announcement of new security measures follow the revelation of an alleged assassination plot against Green Party candidate Antanas Mockus. The former Bogota mayor also received death threats via a group on social networking site Facebook.
Colombians will go to the polls on May 30 to elect their next president.