Colonel Esau Narvaez, commander of the kidnapping response wing of the Colombian army, says that 89 people were kidnapped in the first four months of 2010, of whom fourteen remain in captivity, reports El Colombiano.
The colonel annouced the figures at the first Western Hemisphere Conference on the fight against kidnapping, held in Bogota, which was attended by 70 delegates from across the continent who are responsible for combating kidnapping.
Speaking at the conference, Colombian police chief General Oscar Naranjo put forward a lower figure for the number of kidnappings so far this year. The general quoted a figure of 67 cases, which he said represented a 4% drop from the same period in 2009.
Naranjo said that kidnapping in Colombia was down 93% in the last eight years, which was “very revealing of the success of strategies implemented by the prosecution, police and military against kidnapping.”
The general said that Colombia would work together with other countries in the region to further confront the problem.
“We will share our experience, and, in any case, we will create a partnership to attack kidnapping in the Americas, releasing the people from this threat,” Naranjo said.
The Pais Libre Foundation called on the Colombian government to include the 21,000 victims of kidnapping in the Justice and Peace Program, so they can seek reparations for the crimes committed against them.
Olga Lucia Gomez, director of the foundation, said that it was necessary to add kidnapping victims to the process as the kidnappers today enjoy “benefits provided by impunity.”