Latin America & Caribbean

Colombia police free abducted US judge in Cartagena

Colombian armed police Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Colombia security forces are dealing with dozens of criminal kidnappings every year

Colombian police have rescued a US judge who was abducted last week while on holiday in the historic seaside city of Cartagena, officials say.

Judge Benny Osorio, who serves on the Los Angeles Superior Court, was freed on Thursday by an elite anti-kidnapping unit using intelligence information.

The kidnappers were common criminals who had demanded $30,000 (£24,000) for his release, prosecutors say.

Four suspected kidnappers have been arrested and firearms seized.

The head of the Los Angeles Superior Court, Carolyn Kuhl, said she was "relieved" that her fellow judge had been freed. She added that the US state department and the FBI had worked with Colombian authorities to secure his release.

The number of kidnappings has fallen sharply in Colombia as the government has successfully battled rebel groups over the past decade.

A total of 213 people were abducted in the country in 2015, most of them by criminals demanding ransom, official figures show.

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