RealNews

Colombian Rebels Claim Hostage Slayings

The largest rebel group in Colombia has claimed responsibility for the execution of 10 hostages, including a state governor and former defense minister, during a rescue attempt by the government. Raul Reyes, a spokesman for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, defended the rebel commander who ordered the hostages killed on May 5 after hearing military helicopters approach the camp where the prisoners were held. “Guerrilla units have the moral obligation to save their own lives, and protect, as far as possible, the lives and physical well-being of the prisoners in their command,” he said. “But in no event can they allow enemy forces to take away the prisoners without a military response.” Reyes’ comments were delivered in writing to Noticias Uno, a TV news station in Bogota, which broadcast them late Sunday. Colombians were outraged by the deaths of Antioquia state Gov. Guillermo Gaviria, former defense minister Gilberto Echeverri and eight captive soldiers including some held in the jungles of northwest Colombia for almost six years. Three hostages survived the rescue attempt. Full Story

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