Colombia offers $800,000 reward for information on attackers who fired at helicopter carrying president

Authorities in Colombia are offering a reward of nearly $800,000 for information leading to the capture of those behind an attack on a helicopter carrying President Ivan Duque near the Venezuela border on Friday.

The helicopter was approaching Cucuta airport on a flight from Sardinata when several shots were aimed at it.

Duque was flying with defence minister Diego Molano, interior minister Daniel Palacios and other officials at the time.

No one on board was injured, but photos released by the president’s office showed the tail and main blade had been hit.

“A reward of up to 3 billion Colombia pesos [$796,000] is being offered” for information leading to “those responsible for this terrorist attack”, Molano said on Saturday in a video posted to social media.

General Jorge Vargas, the national police chief, said a search team sent to a nearby Cucuta neighbourhood found an AK-47 and a 7.62-calibre rifle “bearing the mark of the Venezuelan armed forces”.

Duque has repeatedly accused Venezuela’s socialist leader, Nicolas Maduro, of giving refuge to Colombian dissidents and armed rebel fighters.

Bogota and Caracas broke off diplomatic relations shortly after Duque, a conservative, came to power in 2018.

Colombia has been experiencing some of its worst violence in years, particularly in rural areas including the border zone.