Three children were kidnapped in three different municipalities in Colombia’s southeastern state of Cauca by unknown actors within the last week, according to local media.
In most recent case, occurring this past Monday, the parents of the child from Caldono were called and told to pay a ransom of nearly half a million dollars to free their son, according to El Pais newspaper.
An 8-year-old girl has also been reportedly kidnapped by two men who were traveling on a motorcycle.
The third reported disappearance was of an adolescent boy from a indigenous reservation in the region. A leader of the reservation attributed this kidnapping to the FARC, as there have been previous cases in this region of illegal armed groups illegally recruiting minors to join their ranks.
Colombia’s Ombudsman responded to reports by the it has urged the “intervention by authorities to investigate the three alleged cases of child kidnappings in Cauca.”
Colombia has long been known for its kidnapping records. These particularly surged at the end of the last century when guerrilla groups FARC and ELN gained control over large parts of the country’s territory and rebels and criminals began kidnapping at a mass scale.
Kidnapping dropped drastically since 2000 as the Colombian government, supported with U.S. aid, pushed the guerrillas away from economically important areas.
At the beginning of 2012, the FARC banned kidnapping and, according to the official statistics, kidnapping subsequently dropped 23%. However, even before the guerrilla group vowed not to kidnap again, common criminals were already suspected of having taken over the crime.
- Investigan tres presuntos casos de secuestro de menores en el Cauca (El Pais)
- Secuestran a tres niños en Cauca (El Espectador)