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Gunmen Kill Colombia Politician

May 2, 2001

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BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) _ Motorcycle gunmen shot and killed a 75-year-old former politician from Colombia’s ruling Conservative Party, state police said Wednesday.

Hector Polania was traveling along a highway in his home state of Huila on Tuesday when two men riding a white motorcycle opened fired on Polania and his bodyguards.

Polania was shot several times and died on the spot, according to Huila state police. One of the bodyguards was wounded in the arm.

Rebels from the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, have been active in the area. The organization was accused of assassinating an opposition Liberal Party congressman from neighboring Caqueta State in December.

Polania was Huila governor during the early 1970s and served in the Senate between 1978 and 1991. Two years ago, he survived an apparent kidnap attempt in which a police bodyguard was killed fighting off assailants, police said.

During his career, Polania had been a close political ally of Misael Pastrana _ the late former president and father of current Colombian President Andres Pastrana.

Tuesday’s attack took place in the town of Pitalito, 230 miles southwest of Bogota. Police are still searching for the gunmen.

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