Conflicts & War

Colombian president says someone fired on his helicopter

Bogota, Jun 25 (EFE).- Colombian President Ivan Duque said that no one was hurt Friday when unknown assailants fired shots on the US-made Black Hawk helicopter carrying him and other senior officials as it was preparing to land in Cucuta, capital of Norte de Santander province.

The “cowardly attack” left bullet holes in the presidential helicopter, he said, adding that Defense Minister Diego Molano, Interior Minister Daniel Palacios and Norte de Santander Gov. Silvano Serrano were with him aboard the aircraft.

The delegation was returning to Cucuta from Sardinata, where they took part in a public event on the implementation of the November 2016 peace agreement with Marxist FARC guerrillas.

A number of armed factions have a presence in Norte de Santander, including leftist ELN rebels, FARC renegades who renounced the peace process and several drug cartels.

“We reiterate once again that as a government, we will not flag for one minute, one day, in the struggle against narco-trafficking, terrorism and the organized crime entities that operate in the country,” Duque said.

“Here we will not be intimidated by violence or acts of terrorism, our state is strong,” the right-wing president said.

Figures across the Colombian political spectrum denounced the attack.

The attackers sought not only to kill the president and the other officials, but also “to take democracy away from all Colombians,” Daniel Quintero, the reformist mayor of Medellin, said on Twitter.

While one of Duque’s fiercest political adversaries, leftist Sen. Ivan Cepeda, expressed “absolute rejection” of the assault. EFE jga/dr

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