Threats against leftist candidate taken “seriously”: Colombian president

BOGOTA, May 3 (Xinhua) — Colombian President Ivan Duque on Tuesday condemned alleged death threats made by a criminal group against leftist presidential candidate Gustavo Petro, saying his administration takes such threats “seriously.”

“I strongly reject all threats and, in fact, we have been concerned to strengthen the security of all candidates,” Duque said in an interview with a local radio station.

“Also, fortunately … there has been no information from the intelligence agencies validating that this situation is taking place,” said Duque.

Petro’s campaign team on Monday denounced the criminal ring “La Cordillera,” which is comprised of paramilitaries, for planning an attack against the candidate in central-west Colombia’s so-called Coffee Triangle, forcing the candidate to cancel campaigning there.

Petro’s security team had “received first-hand information from sources in the area” that La Cordillera was planning to assassinate the candidate, his campaign team said.

Colombian Interior Minister Daniel Palacios said Monday the authorities were not aware of any threats against Petro, the candidate of the leftist Historic Pact for Colombia coalition.

“After consulting with military forces and intelligence agencies, no plan has been revealed at this time,” Palacios said.

Petro leads the polls, trailed by the conservative candidate Federico Gutierrez, according to the latest surveys.

Colombia will hold presidential elections on May 29 to elect a successor to Duque, whose term ends in August.

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