HomeNewsBriefFARC Rebels Still Kidnapping in Colombia: Report
BRIEF

FARC Rebels Still Kidnapping in Colombia: Report

COLOMBIA / 10 JAN 2014 BY JEREMY MCDERMOTT EN

Colombian police reported that 292 cases of kidnapping were registered in 2013, of which 32 could be directly traced to the FARC, despite the rebel group’s promise to cease the practice — a government precondition for peace talks.

In February 2012, the rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced they would cease the practice of “retentions” (the guerrilla word for kidnapping), which was a government precondition for sitting down and negotiating an end to the 50-year civil conflict. In September 2012 the peace talks formally began and continue in Havana, Cuba.

However a statement from the police anti-kidnapping unit, the GAULA, stated it had traced 32 abductions directly to the FARC, although the vast majority of kidnappings, 76 percent, were carried out by common criminals. The total of registered kidnappings in 2013 was 292, a slight decline on the year before, which saw 305 cases, but way down from a decade earlier, when Colombia was the world kidnap capital with 2123 registered cases, and the FARC were far and away the principal abductors.

InSight Crime Analysis

While the order from the FARC ruling body, the seven-man Secretariat, has been largely obeyed, it is clear that some guerrilla front are still engaging in kidnapping for ransom. This is most likely the case for fronts that do not operate in drug producing areas, or where there is not a large number of companies or urban centers from where they can engage in extortion.

SEE ALSO: FARC Profile

There is evidence that some FARC units are profiting from kidnapping, but subcontracting the operations to other groups. Foremost among them is their allies of the National Liberation Army (ELN), who have not renounced kidnapping and were responsible for at least 29 cases in 2013. The GAULA head, General Humberto Guatibonza, said that they had detected a trend whereby kidnappings are carried out by common criminals, but the ransoms are charged by the FARC. He said they had tracked cases of this in the provinces of Antioquia, Arauca, Cauca and Valle del Cauca.

It may be that common criminals use the name of the FARC when they come to charging ransoms, figuring that the rebel reputation could ensure more rapid payment.

While there may be some exceptions, for the most part FARC units have obeyed the order to halt kidnapping. What has been seen is an increase in extortion, even as kidnappings have declined, as the rebels fill their coffers by diversifying their revenue streams.

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 4 DEC 2012

A former intelligence head of the Colombian Army has been given a 13-year prison sentence for his role in…

COLOMBIA / 1 APR 2020

A new report warning of child recruitment in a municipality bordering Colombia's capital city of Bogotá shows that this issue…

COLOMBIA / 11 AUG 2015

Colombia is training a number of Paraguayan security forces in counterinsurgency warfare, despite some questions over the nature of…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …