Helicopter carrying Colombia’s president attacked; all protected

BUCARAMANGA, Colombia (AP) — Colombian President Iván Duque mentioned Friday {that a} helicopter carrying him and several other senior officers got here below fireplace within the southern Catatumbo area bordering Venezuela, in a uncommon occasion of a direct assault on a presidential plane.

Duque mentioned everybody on board the helicopter was protected, together with himself, Protection Minister Diego Molano, Inside Minister Daniel Palacios and the governor of Norte de Santander state, Silvano Serrano. That they had simply attended an occasion titled “Peace with Legality, the Sustainable Catatumbo chapter.”

“I wish to inform the nation that after fulfilling a dedication in Sardinata, in Catatumbo approaching the town of Cúcuta, the presidential helicopter was the sufferer of an assault,” the president mentioned in a press release.

He mentioned the helicopter’s tools and capabilities “prevented one thing deadly from taking place.” A video launched by the presidency confirmed a number of bullet holes within the Colombian air power helicopter.

Duque didn’t present the time of the assault or say who he believed carried it out, however a number of armed teams are recognized to function within the space.

The president mentioned the “cowardly” assault wouldn’t make him cease preventing drug trafficking, terrorism and arranged crime. “The message is that Colombia is all the time sturdy within the face of crime and our establishments are above any menace,” he mentioned.

Cúcuta, the place the flight was headed, was already on a safety alert after a June 14 automobile bomb assault at a navy base that brought on 36 accidents to each members of the navy and civilians. Colombian authorities haven’t confirmed who was behind that assault, however have mentioned they think dissidents from the now-defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia guerrillas or the insurgent Nationwide Liberation Military. The latter has denied being behind the assault.

In 2018, when the conservative Duque started his presidency, the federal government mentioned it was investigating “doable assaults” being deliberate towards the president at a public occasion. The assaults by no means materialized.

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