BOGOTA – A police officer was killed by FARC guerrillas during an operation to rescue a man kidnapped two months ago in a rural area in northeastern Colombia, officials said.
Deputy chief Carlos Yesid Celis Joya, a 14-year veteran, died in the operation on Saturday in a rural area outside Santiago, a city in Norte de Santander province.
Officers were targeting the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrillas who were holding Luis Antonio Rivera Leal captive since May 29.
The kidnappers were demanding a ransom of about $300,000 for Rivera’s release.
President Juan Manuel Santos was informed of the operation and expressed regret over the death of Celis Joya.
“We have to point out that the National Police’s Gaula (Unified Action Groups for Personal Liberty) have staged 37 rescues this year, and not one captive has been harmed, not even wounded,” Santos said.