BOGOTA, COLOMBIA, JAN. 25 -- Gunmen kidnaped then killed Colombia's chief prosecutor today, less than 24 hours after drug traffickers announced "total war" on officials who try to extradite them to the United States.

Attorney General Carlos M. Hoyos Jimenez, 49, was seized as he was being driven to the Medellin airport for a flight to this capital, about 200 miles to the southeast. At least a half dozen men in three jeeps and a car ran Hoyos' Mercedes-Benz into a curb and sprayed it with submachine-gun fire, killing two of his bodyguards. They then carried off the attorney general, witnesses said.

A man who did not identify himself later telephoned Caracol radio and said Hoyos had been killed for "betraying the country," the network said. The caller gave the location of the attorney general's body.

A reporter notified the Army and accompanied soldiers to the spot about 15 miles southeast of Medellin, near the airport, where Hoyos was kidnaped and his bodyguards were slain at 7:30 a.m.

Ignacio Arboleda, a spokesman in the regional office of the attorney general in Medellin, said, "Unfortunately, I have to tell the country that the body we found is the attorney general, Hoyos Jimenez."

Hoyos was shot many times, and the body was blindfolded and handcuffed, the reporter said. The man calling Caracol ended his message with: "The war continues." He said the message was from "Los Extraditables," those who face extradition.

The government blamed the abduction on the Medellin Cartel, which U.S. officials say controls 80 percent of the cocaine entering the United States. In the past four years, cartel members have waged a bloody war against efforts to prosecute them. Murder victims have included journalists, a justice minister and 21 judges handling drug cases.

Hoyos, who investigated wrongdoing in the government and judiciary, had just spent a week in Medellin investigating last month's release from prison of reputed cocaine baron Jorge Luis Ochoa Vasquez. The United States has been trying to obtain the extradition of Ochoa, who it says is second-in-command of the cartel.

{In Washington, Justice Department spokesman Patrick S. Korten called the attack "part of the ongoing tragedy that is Colombia." Hoyos "was well thought-of by right-thinking people in Colombia." The State Department had no immediate comment.}

About four hours after the abduction of Hoyos, police searching the hills around Medellin for him stumbled upon and freed a Bogota mayoral candidate whom traffickers had kidnaped a week ago.

The freed mayoral candidate, Andres Pastrana, son of an ex-president, was found unharmed in a farmhouse about 10 miles outside Medellin. Pastrana, in a radio interview, said he was blindfolded and taken by helicopter to the farmhouse a day after his Jan. 18 abduction in Bogota. His captors, in issuing their declaration yesterday, said he would be spared only if the government officially abandoned extradition.

Pastrana, 34, said all but one of his captors fled as the police approached. The one who remained did not release Pastrana until a policeman was delivered as hostage, Pastrana said. The policeman later was freed.

Hoyos recently ordered the investigation of two judges and five government officials for suspected involvement in Ochoa's release. As a result, the judges and four of the officials were fired. The fifth, Justice Minister Enrique Low Murta, is under investigation.