Argentine woman killed by suspected FARC rebels in Colombia

Woman kidnapped with Israeli tourists found dead in southern Colombia.


Colombia (illustrative)
Colombia (illustrative)

An Argentine woman leading Israeli tourists on a tour of marijuana-producing areas of southwestern Colombia has been kidnapped and murdered by alleged FARC dissidents, Colombian authorities
announced Thursday.

The woman, Berenice Blanco, and the Israeli tourists were kidnapped last Saturday while on a so-called "Cannabis Tour."

They were travelling in the area of Cauca when they were abducted by armed men who identified themselves as dissidents from the Sixth Front of the FARC," prosecutors said in a statement.

The group released the Israelis three days later, but retained Blanco, demanding a $100,000 ransom from her family in Argentina, the prosecutors said.

Her body was recovered on Wednesday in the municipality of Corinto, they said.

They did not specify the number of Israelis on the tour.

Blanco worked for "Cannabis Tour," a company offering visits to areas of narco crop cultivation in the Cauca area, which is frequented by FARC dissidents as well as members of the Gulf Clan drug trafficking operation, according to authorities.

Cannabis has been grown for medical purposes under state license in Colombia since 2015, but the marijuana fields in the Cauca region have traditionally been used to finance militant groups.

Under a 2016 peace accord, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) disarmed its 7,000 fighters and has now become a political party.

However, the government says some 1,200 fighters have rejected the peace process and are still active in drug trafficking and illegal mining.