RealNews

Colombia Seeks Probe Into Kidnap Reports

President Alvaro Uribe called for an investigation Wednesday into reports local officials had contact with hostage-holding rebels before the government tried to rescue the captives in a botched mission that left 10 dead. The emerging reports show that while Uribe was prodding the military to mount rescue missions, state officials opened a backchannel communication with the guerrillas and knew roughly where Antioquia state Gov. Guillermo Gaviria and 12 other captives were being held. The rebels executed Gaviria along with nine other hostages when government troops attempted to rescue them on May 5 in the jungle of northwest Colombia. Gaviria’s widow has publicly criticized Uribe for ordering the rescue mission without consulting with her, saying he had promised to do so. One of the three hostages who survived, Colombian Army Sgt. Pedro Guarnizo, said a helicopter had arrived the previous day to carry away 11 rebels who were suffering from leishmaniasis, an infection caused by sand flies which causes skin ulcers. Full Story

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