RealNews

Colombian Rebels Link Hostage Safety To Pullback

Colombian rebels acknowledged today that they were holding three Americans whose plane crashed more than a week ago in the country’s southern jungle, and called on the Colombian armed forces to halt military operations in the area to ensure the hostages’ safety. The statement by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a Marxist insurgency regarded by the State Department as a terrorist organization, was the first official confirmation that the Americans were in guerrilla hands. The FARC, as the 18,000-member rebel group is known, claimed to have shot down the plane and called the hostages employees of the Central Intelligence Agency on a counter-guerrilla spy mission. Those claims have been denied by Colombian and U.S. officials, who say the men were working as Pentagon contractors on an anti-drug operation when the plane’s engine quit over rebel territory. Full Story

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