The majority of kidnappings that took place in Colombia last year was not carried out by known guerrilla organizations, but common criminals, the country’s National Police said Tuesday.

In a report on kidnapping in 2013, the police said there had been 292 cases of kidnapping last year, a reduction of 4% compared to the year before.

In 222 of the registered kidnapping cases the alleged perpetrators were common criminals seeking ransom payments.

In 50 cases the victims were minors.

Of the known guerrilla groups, the FARC — in spite of having banned kidnapping — was most active in kidnapping; According to the report, the country’s oldest-living rebel group carried out 32 kidnappings last year. The ELN, Colombia’s second largest rebel group, was accused of having carried out 29 kidnappings.

General Humberto Guatibonza, director of the Police’s anti-kidnapping and extortion unit, was quoted by newspaper El Tiempo as saying that the FARC did work together with local criminal groups when it came to negotiating ransom payments.

“We have seen this in [the states of] Arauca, Valle del Cauca, Cauca and Antioquia,” said the official.

Not all kidnappings were for extortion purposes, said the Police. In 148 cases, the kidnapping was not followed by a demand to pay ransom.

The authorities carried out 110 successful rescue operations. In ten of these operations, the victim was a foreigner.

Kidnapping in Colombia has steadily dropped since early this century when national authorities, supported by the US military, began an offensive to regain control over territory dominated by rebels.

MORE: Colombia kidnapping statistics 1980 – present

Kidnapping in Colombia since 1980


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