Colombia offers reward after presidential helicopter shooting

Colombia has offered a reward of three billion pesos ($796,000; £573,000) for information about an attack on the president’s helicopter.

Iván Duque was nearing Cúcuta airport near the border with Venezuela when his aircraft was hit by gunfire on Friday.

Photos released later showed bullet holes in the rotor and tail of the helicopter.

Nobody on board was injured. The UN, EU and US have all condemned the attack.

Defence Minister Diego Molano – who was also on board the aircraft – offered the reward for any information leading to the culprits on Saturday.

National police meanwhile announced that they had found two rifles in a Cúcuta neighbourhood – an AK-47, and a 7.62 calibre rifle. which they say were used in the attack.

The 7.62 calibre rifle had “the marks of the Armed Forces of Venezuela”, national police chief General Jorge Vargas.

“We are after those responsible. We will not give up until we capture them,” he tweeted. 

A handout photo of the helicopter that was carrying the president when it was hit by gunfire
Photos released by the Colombian government show bullet holes in the aircraft

It is not yet known who carried out the attack.

Before the shooting Mr Duque had been attending an event in the Catatumbo region. The area spans the Colombian-Venezuelan border and is one of the main regions in the country for growing coca, the key ingredient in the drug cocaine.

President Ivan Duque Marquez

Colombia has accused Venezuela of harbouring rebel fighters in the past, a claim the country denies. The nations broke off diplomatic relations after Mr Duque came to power in 2018.

The leftist National Liberation Army (ELN), Colombia’s largest rebel group, operates in the Catatumbo region. 

Earlier this month the ELN denied any involvement in a car bomb attack on a military base in Cúcuta. The attack injured 36 people, including two US military advisers.


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