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Five killed in failed kidnapping of Colombian candidate

world Updated: Feb 15, 2010 08:05 IST

AFP
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Five people were killed when Marxist rebels tried to kidnap a candidate for governor of Colombia's southeastern Guaviare department, who was wounded by gunfire in the action, a military spokesman has said.

Jose Perez Restrepo was travelling in a motorcade along a department highway when it was ambushed by the leftist
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the spokesman said on Sunday.

Three of Perez' bodyguards and two police officers were killed in the shootout, while Perez was wounded in the leg and
taken to an area hospital, he added.

Local media said the candidate's life was not in danger.

The guerrillas apparently were intending to kidnap Perez, the spokesman said, adding that a military unit in the area
chased the rebels away.

It was unclear if any rebels were killed in the action, he added.

Defence Minister Gabriel Silva last week warned against a possible increase of rebel attacks as elections for Congress
in March and for president on May 30 draw near.

Perez is running for governor of Guaviare in a special February 28 election to replace Oscar Lopez, who resigned in
December.

The FARC, Latin America's oldest and largest insurgency, has been battling the Colombian government for four decades.