US asks Colombian rebels to clarify hostage release conditions

February 16th, 2008 - 3:36 pm ICT by admin  

Bogota, Feb 16 (Xinhua) US Ambassador to Colombia William Brownfield has urged the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to clarify the conditions for the release of three US hostages they have held for five years. “The FARC has not clarified its conditions, we are still speculating, we do not know what they want, the FARC has the obligation to clearly state what they specifically want to liberate each one of the hostages,” Brownfield said Friday.

The US Wednesday called on the FARC to immediately free all the hostages, including five Americans, as the day marked the fifth anniversary of the kidnapping of Marc Gonsalves, Thomas Howes, and Keith Stansell by the rebel group.

“The US calls on the FARC to immediately release all hostages so that they could return safely to their families,” said State Department spokesperson Scott McCormack.

Washington “firmly supports the government of Colombia in its efforts to achieve the safe recovery of all of the hostages, some of whom have now been held for ten years”, McCormack said.

The FARC accused the three Americans of espionage and kidnapped them Feb 13, 2003, as their plane was over the area controlled by the rebel group in south of Colombia. The FARC opened fire and forced them to land.

The FARC, accused of drug trafficking and holding some 750 people hostage in its jungle hideouts, is classified as a terrorist organisation by the US, the European Union and the Colombian government.

Colombia’s largest insurgency group FARC, has been fighting the Bogota government since the 1960s.

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