Colombia to train Baja California state police

Baja California Prosecutor General Rommel Moreno Manjarrez has announced that Colombian specialists will provide anti-kidnapping training to state law enforcement officials. Members of the Colombian National Police were in Baja California this week to lay the groundwork for the training which will be offered to 35 personnel attached to the state prosecutor general’s office. Officers selected for the training will be vetted by the Colombians, Moreno said.

The planned training grew out of a meeting between Moreno and Dr. Luis Camilo Osorio, Colombia’s ambassador to Mexico, in Mexico City last month. According to Moreno, trainers from the Gaula anti-kidnapping unit of the Colombian National Police will give instruction on operational tactics, intelligence, police investigative techniques, and hostage negotiation. Moreno said fighting kidnapping is one of the priorities of the state prosecutor general’s office. Baja California’s top law enforcement official said 78 kidnapping gangs have already been broken up in the border state.

In one of the latest incidents, Moreno reported that radiologist Heriberto Valenzuela Vadillo was freed on the morning of June 3 after spending five days in captivity.

The Baja California-Colombia anti-kidnapping agreement is similar to an accord reached between Colombia and Chihuahua state last month. Colombian trainers also from the Gaula unit are expected to arrive in Chihuahua this month.

The growing Mexico-Colombia police training agreements are beginning to draw critical comments in Mexico. “Colombian paramilitaries arrived in Mexico,” wrote Leticia Castro on the daily La Jornada’s web site. “Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.”

Another writer, identified only as Alejandro G., wrote: “The Colombian and Mexican police are among the most corrupt in the world…the relationship of two corrupt police forces is being promoted by the Mexican state. The creation of a new cartel?” (Frontera NorteSur, June 3)

See our last posts on Mexico‘s narco wars and Colombia

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