Kidnappings in Colombia drop 92 pct over 16 years

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Kidnappings in Colombia have dropped 92 percent from alarming numbers over the past 16 years, according to the anti-kidnapping unit of the National Police.

Some 188 kidnapping cases were reported in Colombia this year, "of which 88 percent were the result of common crime, 11 percent of the ELN (guerrilla group) and the rest of organized crime," Fernando Murillo, head of the unit, said in an interview with RCN Radio news published on Tuesday.

Kidnapping rings continue to operate throughout the country, he admitted, but "to combat these crimes, we have succeeded in disbanding at least 30 gangs dedicated to kidnapping and making more than 524 arrests," said the official.

However, the U.S. State Department continues to caution travelers against the possibility of kidnapping in Colombia, warning while "the incidence of kidnapping ... has diminished significantly from its peak in 2000," it "remains a threat." Endi

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