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September 19, 2021
International World

Colombia’s President Shot at in Helicopter but Survives Attack

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — President Iván Duque of Colombia said he was inside a helicopter that was shot at late Friday afternoon, in an attack that he said left bullet marks in the aircraft.

None of the passengers aboard, including several top ministers, were killed, Duque said in a video address just after the attack.

Authorities did not immediately say who they thought was responsible for the attack that took place near the border with Venezuela.

Duque called the attack “cowardly” and vowed to continue “the fight against narcotrafficking, against terrorism and against the organized crime groups that operate in the country.”

The Colombian government has fought left-wing guerrillas, drug cartels, paramilitary operations and other criminal elements for generations.

Despite a peace deal signed in 2016 by Duque’s predecessor with the country’s largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, violence continues in parts of the country, especially in rural areas.

In recent weeks, the country’s cities have been rattled by constant protests, with many Colombians angered over growing poverty and inequality, as well as the continuing violence in the countryside.

Dozens have died in the protests, many at the hands of the national police. Duque’s government has blamed some of the violence that has occurred during the protests on criminal groups it classifies as terrorists.

In the helicopter with Duque on Friday were his defense minister, Diego Molano; his interior minister, Daniel Palacios; and the governor of the department of Norte de Santander, Silvano Serrano.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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