“After fulfilling a commitment in Sardinata in the Colombian Catatumbo and approaching to land in the city of Cúcuta, the presidential helicopter was the victim of an attack.” This is how President Iván Duque confirmed the attack on the presidential aircraft on Friday afternoon.
Also traveling in the Black Hawk helicopter were the Minister of Defense, Diego Molano, the Minister of the Interior, Daniel Palacios, and the Governor of Norte de Santander, Silvano Serrano. All were unharmed. “Both the aerial device and the aircraft’s capabilities prevented something lethal from happening,” explained Duque. The presidency released some images showing the bullet impacts against the helicopter, some of them against the propellers.
The president described the act as a “cowardly attack.” “As a government, we are not going to lose heart in the fight against drug trafficking, terrorism or the organized criminal organizations that operate in the country,” said the president. “They will not intimidate us. with violence or acts of terrorism, “he added from Cúcuta. Duque did not indicate who could be responsible, but this area is a powder keg where guerrillas, paramilitary groups and drug trafficking coexist.
In that same city, last week there was a car bomb attack against the Army’s 30th Brigade. The incident left 36 soldiers wounded. The base has a US military presence. And although the government designates members of the urban war front of the National Liberation Army (ELN), under the orders of Antonio García, a member of the Central Command of that armed group, the Government does not rule out other criminal organizations.
I repudiate the attack
The event has already generated reactions from the main political leaders of the country. “This is an attack against citizens, against the president and against our democracy that I deeply condemn and reject,” López said on Twitter. “We have to take care of Colombia from radicalization and romanticization of all forms of violent aggression,” concluded the local president. Meanwhile, former president Álvaro Uribe, the president’s political godfather, expressed his relief that “President Duque and the members of his entourage were unharmed. Thanks god”.
The mayor of Medellín, Daniel Quintero, assured that “those who plotted this attack wanted to take their lives and democracy from all Colombians.” The same was done by the opponent, Gustavo Petro: “Whatever the distances that separate us, I reject the attack against the president. A democracy consists of nobody dying for their ideas, ”he said.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights also condemned the “reported attack on the presidential helicopter in Cúcuta.” The same goes for the director of Human Rights Watch for the Americas, José Miguel Vivanco. “I categorically repudiate the attack against the helicopter in which President Iván Duque was traveling,” Vivanco said.
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