RealNews

Colombian rebels want swap deal for US hostages

Colombian rebels have declared three kidnapped Americans to be “prisoners of war” and said the men would only be released as part of a prisoner exchange with the Colombian government. The United States, which has described the abducted Americans as civilian contractors working for the defence department, has demanded their immediate release. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) captured the Americans on February 13 after their light plane crash-landed in southern Colombian jungle during what Colombian officials said was an intelligence mission. The army said the rebels had killed one American, and a Colombian soldier crew member and took away the other three US citizens. Farc holds about 80 high-profile Colombian prisoners – including soldiers and politicians – it wants to exchange for 3,000 guerrillas serving time in state prisons. It has said it wants the government to withdraw troops from part of the countryside as a condition for the prisoner swap. Some of the Farc hostages have been held for more than three years in makeshift jungle prisons. Full Story

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