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BRIEF

5 Killed in Colombia Hostage Rescue

COLOMBIA / 6 JAN 2012 BY ELYSSA PACHICO EN

Two soldiers and three kidnappers died when the military attempted to rescue a businessman taken hostage in southwest Colombia.

According to El Pais, the businessman was taken hostage by three people, including a woman, in the bus terminal in Pasto, capital of Nariño department.

The local military brigade tracked the kidnappers' vehicle to a rural municipality. Two soldiers were killed in the resulting shoot-out, along with the three kidnappers.

InSight Crime Analysis

Nariño was one of the two departments which registered the most kidnappings in 2011. Kidnapping rates in this department rose a dramatic 150 percent in 2011, compared to the previous year, even as the national rate is fell

Another emergent trend in Nariño is the kidnapping of members of the middle class by common criminals. The majority of kidnappings in Colombia were once carried out by rebel groups the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN). However, increasingly common criminals have become the principal abductors.

This is partly because criminal bands can now kidnap people or hide their hostages in rural areas once firmly under rebel control, where the guerrillas would not allow such crimes to take place within their territory. With the decline of the FARC, common criminal bands have become more active in parts of the country where the government has not yet fully consolidated public security. 

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