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Representatives of 25 Countries Participate in Anti-kidnapping Meeting in Bogotá

By Dialogo
October 21, 2011

Representatives of 25 countries are participating in the Second International Meeting on the Fight Against Kidnapping, held in Bogotá with the objective of implementing new and better strategies in the fight against that crime, an official spokesperson announced.

General Oscar Naranjo, director of the Colombian National Police, noted that although the country has made progress in preventing kidnapping, “what we’re hoping for is that the experts make their contributions on the basis that Colombia has learned something, but that more remains to be done.”

The police commander, who opened the meeting, told reporters that in order to combat that crime and definitively eradicate it, it is necessary to incorporate “more science and technology into investigations.”

“In the world, there are now very powerful tools to fix locations, to identify criminals, and to protect potential victims of kidnapping,” he noted.

For his part, General Humberto Guatibonza, director of the Anti-kidnapping Police, highlighted the fact that Colombia has been exporting its experience to a variety of countries around the world and revealed that the world’s only anti-kidnapping school operates in this country.

“It’s the only one that exists in the world, where we’ve had students from 18 countries. We’ve held two courses this year, with nearly 80 students from different nations,” he explained.

Guatibonza indicated that the Colombian police is engaged in several advising activities abroad, at the same time that it offers internships within the country.

“Today, we’re advising Honduras and Paraguay, as well as other countries that sometimes have a need for specific situations, as in the case of Ecuador, with which we have a very good relationship regarding this kind of cases; the same as with Panama,” the police commander noted.

According to Defense Ministry figures, 193 kidnappings were recorded in Colombia between January and June, a drop from 282 in the same period in 2010.

The ministry attributes the largest percentage of kidnappings to groups of common criminals, followed by the FARC and ELN guerrilla groups and by criminal gangs working for drug traffickers.