Police: Colombia Kidnapping Dropped 8% in 2011

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Police say that kidnapping is going down in Colombia, even though an office in the Defense Ministry is expected to publish a radically different set of numbers.

According to police statistics, 258 people were kidnapped in Colombia in 2011, down from 282 cases registered in 2010.

Police also noted that common criminals are now carrying out the majority of kidnappings in Colombia, with rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) responsible for just 30 percent of all reported cases.

InSight Crime Analysis

This is trend seen in the past three years. Common criminals have overtaken the FARC as the main abductors. Meanwhile, kidnapping is becoming increasingly prevalent in urban rather than rural areas. 

The other notable trend is that rebel abductions are increasingly focused against workers in the oil industry. Such cases were among the most significant seen las year. In June, rebel group the Revoluationary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) took three Chinese oil workers and their translator captive, who have yet to be released. There were other cases of mass kidnappings in which the FARC briefly held oil workers then released them a few days later, involving contractors who worked for multinationals like Talisman and Occidental Petroleum.

Police kidnap statistics differ sharply from those kept by Fondelibertad, the Defense Ministry office responsible for tracking kidnapping trends. Fondelibertad counted a total of 1,120 kidnap cases in 2010, compared to the police count of 282 cases.

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