RealNews

3 Kidnapped Americans Identified

Colombian authorities for the first time Monday night released the names of three Americans kidnapped two months ago when their surveillance plane crashed into the Colombian jungle. Keith Stansell, Marco Gonzalves and Thomas R. Howes, civilians doing drug surveillance for the Department of Defense, have been missing since Feb. 13, when their single-engine Cessna crashed here. The plane carrying the three and two others — American Thomas Janis and a Colombian army sergeant, Luis Alcides Cruz — reported engine trouble just before it crashed in Caquetá, an area rich with members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The FARC rebel group admits killing Janis and Cruz at the scene, and then taking the three Americans hostage. The FARC has waged war here for 40 years in what it calls a quest for social justice. Considered terrorists by the United States government, the 17,000-member group regularly kidnaps either for extortion or to pressure the government. The three Americans, the FARC has said, can be exchanged in a broad prisoner swap. Both the Colombian and U.S. governments have refused. Full Story

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