Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

WEB NEWS

Israel and Hamas battle online over public opinion

Read more

FOCUS

Can Chancellor Merkel's winning streak last?

Read more

FOCUS

Hunger in a fertile land...

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: One Hundred Days and Counting (part 2)

Read more

  • Live: Air Algérie flight missing over northern Mali

    Read more

  • ‘Many’ French passengers on board missing Algerian plane

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death arrives in Italy

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • In pictures: Thousands march for Gaza peace in Paris

    Read more

  • France charges Swiss bank UBS with tax fraud

    Read more

  • Israel faces heightened diplomatic pressure as Gaza violence rages

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

  • Bomb attacks leave scores dead in north Nigeria

    Read more

Americas

Kidnapped governor found dead

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-23

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has accused the FARC rebels of killing Luis Cuellar, the Caqueta state governor, whose body was found on Tuesday just a day after he was kidnapped in the country's south.

REUTERS - Colombia said on Tuesday FARC guerrillas slit a state governor's throat hours after they kidnapped him during a brazen raid in one of worst rebel strikes during President Alvaro Uribe's government.

The kidnapping of Luis Cuellar, the Caqueta state governor, underscored how Latin America's oldest insurgency remains capable of high-profile attacks despite being battered to its weakest level in decades by Uribe's U.S.-backed offensive.

Armed rebels, dressed in military uniforms, blasted through the door of Cuellar's house in a southern Colombian city late on Monday, killed a police guard and dragged the governor away from his wife and into a waiting jeep.

Cuellar's body was found on Tuesday as troops scoured the remote jungle in hopes of rescuing him. The kidnapping was a reminder of the darker days of Colombia's conflict when lawmakers were easy prey for rebel squads.

"He had his throat cut, they slaughtered him miserably," Uribe said in a national broadcast after Cuellar's body was discovered near the vehicle abandoned by rebels as they fled into jungle near Florencia city.

"As the armed forces were in pursuit, the terrorists cut the governor's throat to avoid firing any shots," he said.

The FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, had yet to issue an statement on the kidnapping.

The rebel group once controlled large parts of the country. But urban bombings and kidnappings have eased as Uribe sent troops to take back areas from armed groups who fund their war with cocaine trafficking.

Foreign investment has soared in Colombia, Latin America's No. 4 oil producer, as cities became safer, kidnappings dropped and soldiers took back rural areas once off limits to petroleum and mining companies because of security risks.

Hostages in jungle camps

Uribe, one of Washington's staunchest allies in Latin America, is popular at home for the success of his security policies. His allies are pushing for a constitutional change to allow the conservative to run for a third consecutive term.

His popularity remains high despite scandals over corruption, military involvement in civilian murders and paramilitary links to some of his lawmaker allies.

With around 9,000 fighters, the FARC is still a force in rural areas where state control is weak. But the rebels have increasingly turned to ambushes and the use of landmines as they are driven back deep into the mountains and jungles.

"The campaign against the FARC is still incomplete and requires more work and time," said Rafael Nieto, a former Colombian deputy justice minister and now a consultant. "The FARC can show they are still capable of these operations."

The FARC is holding 24 police and soldiers hostage -- some kidnapped more than a decade ago -- in jungle camps.

The governor's kidnapping occurred after the guerrilla group announced a plan to release two hostages. His killing likely will scuttle the handover for now and Uribe has urged the military to attempt rescue operations.

The FARC has been weakened by the killing of several top commanders last year and a steady flow of desertions. In a major defeat, the military last year tricked guerrillas into handing over three American contractors and a French-Colombian politician who were the rebel group's most important hostages.

Date created : 2009-12-23

COMMENT(S)