U.S. issues warning on travel to Colombia
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Cautioning that threats to U.S. citizens could be on the rise, the State Department issued a travel warning for Colombia late Tuesday.
The warning cited continued violence by drug traffickers, guerrillas and paramilitary groups and said frequent bombings have occurred in the country with "foreign interests" often being the target.
"Citizens of the United States continue to be the victims of threats, kidnappings, domestic airline hijackings and murders," the warning added.
The statement said "threats targeting American citizens are expected to continue and possibly increase in response to U.S. support for Colombian drug eradication programs," referring to a $1.3 billion U.S. investment in Plan Colombia.
State Department officials estimate more than 3,000 people are kidnapped each year in Colombia, most of them by guerrilla groups, including the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National LIberation Army (ELN). Both of these groups are designated as terrorist organizations by the State Department.
The travel warning notes that because it is U.S. policy not to pay ransom or make any concessions to terrorists, "the U.S. government's ability to assist kidnapped U.S. citizens is limited."
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