DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     June 17, 1999     vol. 10, no. 117

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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COLOMBIAN REBELS RELEASE 33 CHURCH HOSTAGES

          BOGOTA (CWNews.com) - Rebels of Colombia's National Liberation Army (ELN) on Tuesday released 33 hostages taken from a Catholic church 17 days ago, although 20 others still remain in custody.

          The hostages were marched with great fanfare into Cali and delivered to members of special commission on kidnapping in front of a live television audience. One of the released hostages, the parish priest Father Humberto Cadavid, decried the carnival atmosphere surrounding the release. "The Colombian state is being held hostage," said Father Cadavid. If the rebels can abduct an entire church full of people "where is the security, where is the tranquility in Colombia? We're living in fear."

          Rebel leaders repeated their demand that President Andres Pastrana effectively hand over four cities to their control before peace talks can begin, in a move similar to the government's ceding control over a Switzerland-sized area to the rebel group FARC. "It's clear to the National Liberation Army that this government is not interested in a political solution," a rebel commander, Liliana Becerra, said during the hand-over ceremony.

          In addition to the remaining Cali hostages, ELN also holds 24 people from the hijacking of an Avianca Airlines flight on April 12.


Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

June 17, 1999       volume 10, no. 117
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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