jueves, 20 de junio de 2013

Guatemalan police examine remains, pursue search for kidnapped agent

Guatemalan police were examining severed remains of a body found in western Guatemala on 18 June to establish whether or not they belonged to a police officer kidnapped earlier in the district of Salcajá; the President and the Interior Minister declared on 19 June that the search for César García Cortez would continue in the absence of concrete results, the newspaper Prensa Libre reported on 20 June. The remains were found in the locality of Camojá Grande in the department of Huehuetenango, near the frontier with Mexico. The officer was kidnapped late on 13 June following a gang attack on his post in which eight colleagues were shot dead. Two policemen escaped the massacre as they were said to be having dinner elsewhere; Interior Minister Mauricio López Bonilla said staff at the station including the two were now considered suspects and under investigation in relation with the incident. Separately, Police reported they had detained 51 suspected criminals around the country on 18-19 June, including a man authorities had sought since 2001 for an attempted murder, the official AGN news agency reported on 19 June. Eight firearms were confiscated and two stolen cars found, Police declared.

Report describes recent history of kidnappings in Colombia

A report issued on 20 June by Colombia's semi-official National Centre of Historical Memory (Centro Nacional de Memoria Histórica) and the consultancy firm Cifras y Conceptos was presented as "the most solid and consistent" history of kidnapping in Colombia from 1970 to 2010 and of its geographical and human anatomy. The report entitled Una Verdad Secuestrada used 1,302,337 data pertaining to 39,058 kidnap victims, and was created with the support of bodies including the Police, the European Union and Colombia's state prosecution service (Fiscalía), Caracol radio reported. The broadcaster reported some of the highlights of its findings: it stated that Bogotá, Medellín and Cali were the cities most affected by kidnapping in that period, with 2,572 registered kidnappings in Bogotá in 1970-2010, 1,920 in Medellín and 1,241 in Cali. Tuluá, a district half-way between Bogotá and the Pacific coast, had the fewest - 153 - kidnappings. The country's two communist guerrilla armies - the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) - were found to be the most prolific kidnappers, followed by criminal gangs who nevertheless kidnapped more in cities like Bogotá, Caracol reported. Figures showed that criminals kidnapped most in Bogotá in this period - 840 times - while the FARC had carried out their greatest number of kidnappings in the districts of Miraflores in the department of Guaviare (182 kidnappings there), and in San Vicente del Caguán (152) and Villavicencio (142), respectively in southern and in south-central Colombia. The ELN kidnapped most in Cali (353) and in Valledupar (307) in the northern department of César near the Venezuelan frontier. Graphic representaion of the history of kidnappings showed that kidnappings began to increase from 1990 and rose exponentially around 1996, at the start of what the report termed as a "massification" period. Its chart showed that kidnappings reached a peak in 2000-2002, when they began to decline during a "containment" period, Caracol reported. A decline and stagnation in kidnappings broadly coincided with the two presidencies of Álvaro Uribe Vélez (2002-2010), the conservative leader who waged war on crime and insurgencies.

Colombia captures "five terrorists," gang suspects

Colombian authorities detained five presumed members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) "as they slept" south of the district of Buenaventura on the Pacific Coast, Caracol radio reported on 18 June, citing declarations by the Minister of Defence Juan Carlos Pinzón. The Minister said the "five terrorists" were caught during "a surgical operation, legitimate and respectful of human rights" carried out by Naval Intelligence agents. Arms and "ample" amounts of ammunition were confiscated, Caracol reported. In Bogotá, police detained a drug trafficker identified as Gilberto Piñeros González, while he ate lunch on 18 or 19 June, Bogotá's Radio Santa Fe reported. The trafficker was one of 19 inmates who broke out of a prison in Ecuador on 12 February 2013, and this was the second or third time he was being held. Authorities separately detained in the western Valle del Cauca department six suspected criminals including a presumed chief or regional head of Los Urabeños - one of Colombia's main criminal gangs; the latter, a man dubbed Guacamayo, was sought for a range of charges including homicides, "torture," kidnapping and drug trafficking and was described as "the last of the leaders" of the Urabeños. He was detained at an unspecified date in the district of Alcalá, the Ministry of Defence reported on 18 June, adding that authorities had been tracking him since 2011 when he returned to Colombia after serving a seven-year prison sentence in the United States. Others detained with him were identified as an aide and finance chief dubbed el Rojo, three gunmen active in the district of Jamundí in Valle del Cauca, and two street dealers.