The Government of Colombia has offered a US $ 795,000 reward in exchange for information leading to the capture of those behind the shooting of President Ivan's Duque helicopter last week.
“A reward of up to 3,000 million (Colombian) pesos is offered to whomever leads [us] to finding those responsible for this terrorist attack,” said Defense Minister Diego Molano, who was also aboard the aircraft during the incident.
Molano made the announcement through a video message from the city of Cúcuta, where the attack had taken place.
Police Chief General Jorge Vargas said that the shots came from a neighborhood near the airport from which the presidential aircraft took off.
“A search team was deployed … and two rifles were found: an AK-47 whose registration number is being investigated and another a caliber 7.52 with the mark of the Venezuelan armed forces,” Vargas explained.
Duque was traveling with his defense and interior ministers as well as the governor of Norte de Santander aboard the helicopter that left Sardinata for Cúcuta. Images released by the presidency show several bullet holes in the tail and main propeller. None of the occupants were injured.
The attack was condemned by the UN, the United States, the European Union and several Latin American countries. The Secretary General of the United Nations is relieved by the fact that the aircraft landed without problems and there were no injuries or fatalities,” said his spokesman Stéphane Dujarric in a statement on Saturday.
During the afternoon, the Colombian president attended an event in the cocaine-producing Catatumbo region, where former FARC guerrillas, militants of the National Liberation Army (ELN) and drug traffic groups fight over territorial control.
This region, near the Venezuelan border, is constantly under fire. Earlier this month a car bomb exploded inside a military installation in Cúcuta, injuring 36 people. The government blamed the attack on the ELN, the last recognized guerrilla in the country, but did not rule out FARC dissidents who have excluded themselves from the peace pact signed in 2016 could be rresponsible.
Duque has repeatedly accused Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro of sheltering dissidents and troops from the ELN in Venezuelan territory.