RealNews

Rebels demand end to hunt for US hostages

The Bush administration has sent more troops to Colombia as the country’s largest rebel group acknowledged responsibility for kidnapping three US government employees, whose plane crashed 11 days ago in southern jungle. The rebels demanded an end to the vast US and Colombian search-and-rescue operation under way in the region. In an open communique distributed by email, leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) said the wellbeing of the three Americans was contingent on a military pullback. “We can only guarantee the life and physical integrity of the three gringo officials in our power if the Colombian army immediately suspends military operations and overflights,” the message said. It was the first confirmation of claims by US and Colombian officials that the Americans were in rebel hands. The 18,000-strong Marxist guerrilla group said it had shot down the single-engined Cessna 208, an assertion which seemed to contradict official reports that the plane was suffering mechanical problems before it went down. Full Story

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