RealNews

Marxist Rebels Insist Search for Americans End

Marxist guerrillas on Monday insisted the Colombian army halt a massive search-and-rescue mission for three U.S. government contractors, a sign that they might have been unable to smuggle their captives to a secure hiding place. An army officer said the fresh demand by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia for the search mission to be called off indicated the 4,000 rescue mission troops, supported by fast Black Hawk helicopter gunships and a small number of U.S. Special Forces, were on the right trail. “We want to reaffirm our previous demands to the Colombian government, in order to be able to guarantee the life and well-being of the three North American officers,” said an e-mailed statement from the rebel group known by the Spanish initials FARC. Ten days have passed since the guerrillas first demanded an end to military operations in the southern Colombian jungle and savanna where they seized the three Americans, described by the U.S government as civilian Defense Department contractors, on Feb. 13. “There are strong indications the FARC haven’t been able to get their hostages out of the area, so they’re insisting on us stopping military operations. They can feel us breathing down their necks,” said an army officer working on the rescue effort, who asked not to be named. Full Story

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