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Italian Kidnapped, Killed, in Colombia

March 3, 2005

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) _ An Italian tourist visiting Colombia with his family was kidnapped and murdered by paramilitary gunmen, police said Wednesday.

Sabino Mobile was kidnapped in early February in Girardot, a tourist town southwest of Bogota, said spokesman German Sandoval.

Police said nine people were arrested, including right-wing paramilitary leader Ruben Oliverio Vera Roldan, two of his gunmen and three men who guarded the victim on a farm.

Sandoval said one of the guards told authorities that Mobile was shot dead and his body tossed into the Magdalena River on Saturday. Mobile’s body has not been recovered.

The kidnappers believed Mobile was in Colombia to buy a hotel in the area, kidnapped him and demanded a $1.3 million ransom, Sandoval said.

Colombia has the world’s highest kidnapping rate, with 1,441 reported abductions last year.

Leftist rebels and their paramilitary foes carry out many of the kidnappings, and are also involved in drug trafficking and extortion, turning Colombia into the most dangerous land in the Western Hemisphere.

Update hourly