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79 policemen held hostage in Colombia protests

Police sit while officials from Colombia’s human rights ombudsman speak with demonstrators March 2, 2023. Photo: Reuters

A police officer has died and 79 others have been taken hostage during protests in Colombia’s southern Caquetá province.

BBC reports that violence sprung up on Thursday after residents besieged the compound of an oil exploration company.

Protesters were demanding the company to repair and build new roads in the area.

A civilian was also killed and nine oilfield workers captured alongside the police officers.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro said he hoped they would be “unilaterally” released before any escalation of violence, and asked for medical help from the Red Cross.

The oil company did not respond when approached by Reuters news agency for comment.

Writing by Muzha Kucha