Hostages freed amid deadly energy company protests in Colombia | Protests News


Colombian President Gustavo Petro has introduced on Twitter that his ministers efficiently negotiated the discharge of 88 hostages taken throughout a lethal protest towards the oil firm Emerald Vitality.

“Because of the efforts of the ministers of Protection and the Inside, all police members and oil officers retained in San Vicente del Caguán, Caquetá, have been launched,” Petro wrote on Friday.

In a video launched to the media, Petro additionally appealed to the protesters, a lot of whom hail from Indigenous and rural communities, vowing to “dialogue” with them “about their wants, their complaints, their claims”.

“This a authorities for dialogue, a authorities that belongs to them,” Petro mentioned within the video.

A complete of 88 individuals had been held captive as a part of the protests, which demanded that Emerald Vitality present infrastructure investments and compensation for environmental injury to the encompassing group.

9 of the preliminary hostages have been oil firm workers. The opposite 79 have been law enforcement officials.

As well as, two individuals have been killed within the demonstrations: a civilian struck by gunfire and a police officer recognized as 39-year-old Ricardo Arley Monroy.


The protests, which started on Thursday, shut down entry to an oil area, and video appeared to indicate demonstrators setting fireplace to firm property.

On Friday, authorities officers together with Minister of Defence Iván Velásquez and Inside Minister Alfonso Prada travelled to San Vicente del Caguán, a municipality within the Colombian Amazon, to fulfill with protesters.

However within the lead-up to negotiations, Prada introduced {that a} full authorities dialogue may solely happen with the “speedy launch” of the captured law enforcement officials and the six staff nonetheless in custody by Friday morning.

Protesters have referred to as on Emerald Vitality to repave roads and enhance amenities like faculties within the largely rural space surrounding the oil fields.

A spokesperson for the communities concerned within the protest informed Al Jazeera earlier on Friday that an estimated 4,000 individuals, from farming and Indigenous communities, had taken half within the protests.

The spokesperson additionally denied studies that armed teams had infiltrated the demonstrations, calling the rumours an try and delegitimise the protesters’ calls for.

Prada, the Inside minister, appeared to handle these considerations in an announcement to native media on Friday.

“We’re very cautious to not stigmatise or permit the stigmatisation of the peasant social motion in Colombia,” he informed journalists. “However we’re not silly sufficient to assume that there may be no components of disruption that intend to make use of social mobilisation for their very own explicit unlawful pursuits.”

Petro is taken into account the first left-wing president in Colombia’s historical past, following his inauguration last August, and his authorities has approached the nation’s practically six-decade-long internal conflict with a coverage of dialogue and negotiations, with the goal of achieving “total peace”.

Lately, his administration has resumed talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN), the biggest remaining guerrilla group within the nation.

However the protests in San Vicente del Caguán renewed criticism from conservatives that Petro has not taken an aggressive sufficient method to finish lawlessness.

On Friday, far-right Senator María Fernanda Cabal denounced Petro’s authorities on Twitter for exhibiting “indifference” to the households of law enforcement officials held hostage by not taking stronger motion.

In his video assertion on Friday, Petro supplied condolences to these harmed within the demonstrations. He additionally condemned the “violent actions” taken in the course of the protests, calling them counterproductive.

“What they do is destroy the chance, not solely of getting a preferred, progressive authorities, however of getting paths of peace,” Petro mentioned.

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