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Colombia offers $800,000 reward to trace terrorists who attacked president

June 27, 2021

BOGOTA: The Colombian government said on Saturday it is offering a reward of nearly $800,000 for information leading to the capture of those behind an attack Friday on a helicopter carrying President Ivan Duque near the Venezuela border.

"A reward of up to 3 billion pesos is being offered" for information leading to "those responsible for this terrorist attack," Defense Minister Diego Molano said in a video posted to social media from the northern city of Cucuta.

The president’s helicopter was approaching the Cucuta airport on a flight from Sardinata when several shots -- apparently from rifles -- were fired at it.

Duque was flying with Molano, Interior Minister Daniel Palacios and other officials at the time.

No one on board was injured, but photos released by the president’s office showed the tail and main blade had been hit.

General Jorge Vargas, the national police chief, said a search team sent to a nearby Cucuta neighborhood had found two rifles: an AK-47, whose owner was not yet known, and a 7.62-caliber rifle "bearing the mark of the Venezuelan armed forces."

Duque has repeatedly accused Venezuela’s socialist leader, Nicolas Maduro, of giving refuge to Colombian dissidents and armed rebel fighters. Bogota and Caracas broke off diplomatic relations shortly after Duque, a conservative, came to power in 2018.