April 9, 2019 / 2:15 AM / 3 months ago

Armed groups planned attack on Colombia's Duque - attorney general

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Armed groups had planned an attack on Colombian President Ivan Duque when he meets on Tuesday with leaders of indigenous communities, the country’s attorney general said.

FILE PHOTO: Colombia's President Ivan Duque speaks during a meeting of the Lima Group in Bogota, Colombia, February 25, 2019. Picture taken February 25, 2019. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

Duque is set to meet with the leaders following the negotiated end to a 27-day blockade by indigenous groups that caused food and gasoline shortages in some cities in Colombia’s southwest.

The government reached a deal on Saturday to invest more than $250 million (191 million pounds) in indigenous communities and end the protest, which is referred to as a “minga” in Colombia.

“We have trustworthy information that on the occasion of his meeting with the leaders of the Cauca minga, some organised armed groups which have infiltrated this social and indigenous movement wanted to carry on a terrorist act that could have affected the security of the president,” Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez told journalists late on Monday.

“We are corroborating all of the evidence in a criminal investigation,” Martinez said. “The information that we have obtained is about a high-precision weapon.”

He did not elaborate on the suspected plot or if the conspirators had been apprehended.

Duque will go ahead with the meeting in Caldono, Defense Minister Guillermo Botero told journalists late on Monday, but only in a location decided by his security staff.

The government has said the protests were being infiltrated by members of the ELN rebel group and former members of the FARC guerrillas who did not demobilize under a 2016 peace deal.

Indigenous communities blocked a section of the Pan-American highway in Cauca province to demand the government comply with previously agreed social investment.

A police officer and an indigenous protester were killed during the blockade, while eight other people in the area died in an explosion that security sources said was caused by bomb-making materials.

Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Peter Cooney

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