Kidnapped Colombian governor found dead

“The terrorists burned the vehicle in which they kidnapped the governor, further ahead they killed him, they slit his throat, they killed him miserably,” said President Uribe, in a nationally televised address.

“They slit his throat to avoid making noise because they knew that the armed forces were in the surrounding area.

“In the midst of pain, we reiterate today all our determination to defeat these terrorists.”

Earlier, Uribe, whose father was killed in 1983 during a botched kidnapping by rebels, had said Colombia could not be “held captive by the whim of terrorists, terrorists who bathe the country in blood and who trick us every day”.

The late Cuellar was taken from his home by about 10 gunmen, who lobbed grenades at the building. One policeman was killed in the attack and two more were wounded.

More than 2,000 military personnel had been deployed in the search for the kidnappers. The authorities had also offered 1bn pesos ($500,000; £312,000) to anyone giving information leading to Cuellar’s safe return.

But his body was found hours later, close to a burnt-out vehicle on a road about 15 kilometres (9 miles) outside Florencia.

He had been bound and gagged and had several bullet wounds in his body. Explosives had been placed around him.

It remains unclear whether the kidnappers initially intended to kill Cuellar, s the BBC reported.

In the past, high-profile figures have been kidnapped to try to force the government to make prisoner exchanges.

Cuellar had previously been kidnapped four times in the past 23 years, but for ransom, his wife told the Associated Press news agency.

Caqueta has been a stronghold of the Farc – Colombia’s oldest and largest left-wing rebel group – for many years.

It was where French-Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt was kidnapped in 2002.

The Farc has not claimed responsibility for the attack on Cuellar, but is widely thought to have been behind it.

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