Considering the events that occurred on February 3, when twelve heavily armed men kidnapped and interrogated three prosecutors from the Sectional Directorate of Department of Antioquia and a public servant from the town of Tarazá’s Court, while the victims were traveling in a private vehicle on the road that leads from the town of Cáceres to the city of Medellín, specifically when passing by the town of Valdivia (Department of Antioquia), the Office of the Attorney General of Colombia informs:
- As per the sworn statements of the prosecutors who were affected by this incident, it was possible to demonstrate that one of the individuals who held them hostage was José Gonzalo Sánchez Sánchez, a/k/a “Gonzalito”, top leader of the Clan del Golfo in the area, who currently has a warrant for extradition purposes and is part of the 16 individuals with arrest warrants which the National Government requested to be suspended. The Office of the Attorney General of Colombia did not agree to this request given that there was no constitutional framework to proceed in that way.
- Once the aforementioned event occurred, a team of prosecutors and investigators was deployed, and was able to collect technical evidence that allowed to determine the presence of the Clan del Golfo in the area. That work led a judge to issue an arrest warrant against a/k/a “Gonzalito” for the offense of aggravated kidnapping.
- Considering these events that impact the safety of the public servants of the Attorney General’s Office in the town of Tarazá, it has been decided to temporarily close the headquarters of the Institution in that town and the services that were previously provided there will now be delivered from Attorney General’s offices in Medellín, since there are no security conditions to safely administer justice in the town of Tarazá.
- The prosecutors stated with concern that during the kidnapping event they passed through three checkpoints of the Armed Forces and the Police, who did not carry out any preventive action to preserve security and public order in that area.
- Public servants, as well as Police and Military authorities responsible for preserving security in the area, will be requested to explain the actions carried out in response to these events and the procedures that have been conducted in order to guarantee the protection of citizens and public servants in the area.
The role of the Attorney General’s Office in the town of Tarazá has been reinforced and has counted with the support of international cooperation. We regret that these events occurred in that town, one of the 170 towns that are part of the Development Programs with Territorial Approach (Programas de Desarrollo con Enfoque Territorial, PDET), which were prioritized for being the territories most affected by the armed conflict.