Inhabitants of the northern Colombian state of Cesar are in uproar after local media reported that at least four people have been kidnapped in the department over the past few months.
The GUALA Police unit, specialized in solving hostage taking, promised $10,000 to whoever delivers information leading to the rescue of the kidnapped, the National Police wrote in a press release Tuesday.
A total of eight people have been kidnapped in Cesar so far this year, said the director of GAULA. Four of the victims have since been released.
“We must be clear, there is guerrilla group ELN who have conducted kidnappings in this region of Cesar, and criminal gangs maybe have some coordination with the guerrillas to deliver hostages,” Colonel Fabio Lopez said at a press conference.
The National Police is carrying out fieldwork in the local area to collect evidence that can lead to the liberation of the four kidnap victims and information of the responsible kidnappers.
Colombia has long been infamous for its kidnappings. However, while in the year 2000 more than 3,500 Colombians were kidnapped, this had dropped to less than 400 in 2013.
This year, 217 people have been kidnapped in Colombia, according to the Ministry of Defense.
FACT SHEET: Kidnapping statistics