Helicopter carrying Colombian President Duque hit by bullets

Helicopter carrying Colombian President Duque hit by bullets

Colombian President Ivan Duque said a helicopter he was in was hit by several bullets as it flew over the Catatumbo region on Friday towards the city of Cucuta, capital of the province of Norte de Santander.
In addition to Duque, the helicopter was carrying other officials, including Defense Minister Diego Molano, Interior Minister Daniel Palacios and Norte de Santander Governor Silvano Serrano.

“It’s a cowardly attack, where you can see bullet holes in the presidential plane,” the president said in a statement.

No one was injured in the incident, a spokesperson for the presidency said.

Photos released by the president’s office showed the tail and main blade were affected.

Duque said the “security features” of the plane prevented a “fatal” attack.

Security personnel have been given clear instructions to find the perpetrators of the helicopter attack, the president added.

“Once again, we reiterate that as a government [we won’t give up]… In the fight against drug trafficking, terrorism and organized crime operating in the country, ”said Duque. ” [They won’t] intimidate us with violence or acts of terror. Our State is strong and Colombia is strong to face these threats. “

Translation: Statement by President Ivan Duque de Cutuca, North Santander.

The troubled region of Catatumbo, on Colombia’s border with Venezuela, is home to extensive crops of coca, the main ingredient in cocaine.

This is where left-wing National Liberation Army (ELN) fighters operate – former FARC fighters who reject the 2016 peace deal with the government – as well as armed criminal groups involved in drug traffic.

This month, a car bomb exploded at a military base used by the Army’s 30th Brigade in Cucuta, injuring Colombian soldiers and US military advisers.

While Defense Minister Molano said the attack could have been carried out by the ELN, the rebel group denied having played a role in the bombing.

Since Duque came to power, Colombia has experienced its worst outbreak of violence since the peace agreement with the FARC.


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