Seven police killed in kidnap attempt on round-the-world cyclist in Pakistan

Attack took place in Balochistan province, scene of a number of kidnappings of foreign nationals in recent years

by Simon_MacMichael   January 23, 2014  

Javier Colorado (picture from Colorado on the Road Facebook page)

Seven police officers escorting a Spanish cyclist as he rode through Pakistan while on a round-the-world bike ride have been killed after what local officials and the Spanish government describe as an attempted kidnapping turned into a firefight.

The attack, which left five other police officers injured and one of the presumed kidnappers, took place yesterday in the Balochistan province, which borders Iran to the west and Afghanistan to the north.

The region has seen a number of terrorist attacks and kidnappings of foreign nationals in recent years.

The cyclist has been identified as Javier Colorado, who is said to have sustained minor injuries in the attack, reports Australia Network News.

He was reported to have undergone medical checks and was “in the custody of the provincial administration."

Colorado's family posted a message to his Facebook page, which read: “In the first place we want to thank the Spanish consulate in Pakistan for all their help.

"Today [Javier] will fly to Lahore, on the border with India. His initial intent is to continue his trip."

In a statement issued yesterday, the Spanish government said it wished to “underline the high regard it has for the work of the Pakistani state security forces in defending a Spanish citizen, whose safety and well-being has cost the lives of the police officers who died this morning performing their duties.

The UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises against all travel to northern and western Balochistan and also warns of “a high threat from terrorism, kidnap and sectarian violence throughout Pakistan.”

Some round-the-world cyclists choose to avoid the country altogether after balancing their sense of adventure with personal safety, while others are prepared to take risks.

None of the 12 participants in the World Cycle Race in 2012 rode through the region, most opting to fly from Turkey to India to skip the Middle East, while two took a more northerly route via Kazakhstan.

In 2009, during his round-the-world bike ride, after being the victim of an attempted kidnapping, James Bowthorpe chose not to ride through Pakistan on his way from Iran to India as a result of security concerns.

Instead, he flew via Dubai, making up the distance sacrificed elsewhere on his circumnavigation.

“It seems like an unnecessary risk to take, not just for myself but everyone there who will be escorting me, especially as violence has increased fourfold over the last year and westerners are also being targeted,” he said at the time.

“I intend to make up the mileage in the US with an extended and much harder route, going further south than originally intended and going over more mountains.”

At the time Bowthorpe set off in his ride in 2009, the Guinness World Record for the fastest navigation of the globe by bicycle was held by the Scot, Mark Beaumont.

He had been warned by the British Embassy not to enter Pakistan, but set off there anyway, arriving a few days before martial law was imposed.

During his time in the country, he was escorted by police officers, sleeping on the floors of police stations each night.

Afterwards, he told the Daily Record: "The police thought it was a waste of their time. They kept trying to pick my bike up and put it in the truck.

"After days of being jeered at I'd had enough. One day I lost it – one of the only times in my life I've done that – and they gave me space afterwards," he added.

19 user comments

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If you are told to avoid an area, but you still go there, why on earth would the police bother to help you. You should be doing it at your own risk and not have a squad of police risking their safety, just because you fancy a cycle.

Waste of time and life if you ask me. So 7 dead, 5 injured....how many more uninjured?

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8138 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 15:09

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@Gkam - possibly stated with more directness that I would have used - but I definitely query this chap's wisdom in choosing that route and feel he bears some responsibility for the outcome

posted by mad_scot_rider [518 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 15:14

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Perhaps he can use the rest of his trip to raise money for the family's who have been robbed of I assume their main bread winner...seven people loosing their life to protect you is not an easy thing to have on your conscience. Especially if it could have been avoided.

posted by ronin [57 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 15:54

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I would not want that on my conscience. RIP.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2607 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 16:14

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So - you can miss out countries in a RTW record if politics etc allow, just add-on the approx miles elsewhere...where its nicer and smooth roads, better food, nicer hotels, wifi and maybe a prevailing wind feature for the season?-/

posted by Farky [174 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 16:22

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Agree with earlier posts. To risk your own life is one thing, to endanger others is selfish and reckless.

posted by sorebones [96 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 16:25

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Gkam84 wrote:
So 7 dead, 5 injured....how many more uninjured?

Billions I'd imagine.

posted by farrell [1015 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 17:04

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What an utter prat. Self entitlement taken to it's brutal extreme

posted by Al__S [419 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 19:30

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Did the cyclist really put other lifes at risk? Or was this the fault, perhaps, just maybe, of the people that tried to kidnap him?

The glass is 50% capacity.

posted by mrfree [33 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 19:55

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mrfree wrote:
Did the cyclist really put other lifes at risk? Or was this the fault, perhaps, just maybe, of the people that tried to kidnap him?

What a complete and utter load of rubbish.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2429 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 20:38

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It might not have been smart to go there but it still doesn't make it his fault that criminals broke the law. Victims are never at fault

posted by jarredscycling [436 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 20:50

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jarredscycling wrote:
It might not have been smart to go there but it still doesn't make it his fault that criminals broke the law. Victims are never at fault

Unless of course the victim is a cyclist.

I agree with earlier posters, the guy's a tool.

posted by TheSpaniard [31 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 21:13

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farrell wrote:
Gkam84 wrote:
So 7 dead, 5 injured....how many more uninjured?

Billions I'd imagine.

I guess I left myself open to that Rolling On The Floor

I meant, how many more police officers guarding this one cyclist were uninjured in this incident?

In essence, how many officers does it take to protect one cyclist, travelling through hostile territory on an ego trip??

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posted by Gkam84 [8138 posts]
24th January 2014 - 1:40

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Isn't it time we stopped giving publicity to these idiots? The world cannot be circumnavigated by bike, you need, at least, to use a boat for very wet bits, like the sea. This stupidity has cost 7 men's lives directly and possibly more indirectly, given the amount of police time wasted on escorting Colorado, and subsequently investigating and attending to the attempted kidnap. It may not be Colorado's fault that the kidnap attempt was made, but it was his fault that it was possible.

Grizzerly

posted by Grizzerly [95 posts]
24th January 2014 - 13:28

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Grizzerly wrote:
Isn't it time we stopped giving publicity to these idiots? The world cannot be circumnavigated by bike, you need, at least, to use a boat for very wet bits, like the sea. This stupidity has cost 7 men's lives directly and possibly more indirectly, given the amount of police time wasted on escorting Colorado, and subsequently investigating and attending to the attempted kidnap. It may not be Colorado's fault that the kidnap attempt was made, but it was his fault that it was possible.

Be careful with your logic, is it safe to leave the house in case someone runs you down? In fact is it safe to have a house in case someone fire bombs it!!!!

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posted by mrmo [856 posts]
24th January 2014 - 13:58

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Quite something to have on your conscience the deaths of 7 men and others injured trying to save your butt as you galavanted around the world …………… riding through an area you KNEW to be extremely dangerous. Reckless doesn't begin to describe this guy.

Airzound

posted by Airzound [69 posts]
24th January 2014 - 16:05

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Gkam84 wrote:
If you are told to avoid an area, but you still go there, why on earth would the police bother to help you.

Perhaps because, contrary to your expectations, Pakistan's police do indeed give a damn about their duty to maintain the rule of law.

While it's a foolish and morally-dubious choice to endanger your life and those of others as you go cycling through Balochistan after your government has issued a warning to avoid the place, to insinuate that primary responsibility for these deaths should fall upon the cyclist (and indeed by extension the murdered policemen themselves), rather than upon the gun-wielding lunatics who carried out the attack, is deeply invidious victim-blaming.

You might as well have asked whether or not they were wearing helmets.

posted by Lord Fishface [24 posts]
26th January 2014 - 14:53

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So let's say Obama goes to visit some part of the US where he isn't liked, and someone tries to kill him and ends up taking out some of his escort instead. Is it Obama's fault for visiting the area, or the fault of those who attempted to assassinate him?

Or maybe the same scenario but with Cameron and some crazy left-wingers... we all know how violent these commies can be.

posted by eurotrash [69 posts]
26th January 2014 - 15:08

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apparently the truth was quite different to the above story:

http://road.cc/110098

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

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posted by KiwiMike [363 posts]
4th February 2014 - 11:32

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