DAILY CATHOLIC WEDNESDAY September 8, 1999 vol. 10, no. 170
NEWS & VIEWS
REBELS APOLOGIZE TO POPE, REQUEST CHURCH-LED COMMISSION
BOGOTA (CWNews.com) - The People's Liberation Army (EPL), Colombia's smallest guerrilla group who kidnapped Bishop Jose de Jesus Quintero, issued a statement on Monday apologizing to Pope John Paul II and requesting his support in the creation of a truth commission to probe human rights violations in the region.
In a letter sent yesterday to the Colombian radio network Caracol, the rebels apologized to the Pope for kidnapping the bishop of Tibu, but called it "a desperate measure to attract the nation's attention" to what they describe as "the systematic murder of peasants by paramilitary groups logistically supported by the Army."
The EPL also said in its message that they want the Pontiff's support for the creation of an international tribunal headed by the Colombian episcopate to probe human rights violations in the region. The message was sent with proof that Bishop Quintero and the other six people kidnapped by the EPL are alive and well.
Hours after the statement was made public, Archbishop
Alberto Giraldo Jaramillo, president of the Colombian
Bishops' Conference, announced that an agreement was
reached with the EPL for the "prompt release" of Bishop
Quintero. In exchange, the bishops have agreed to head a
humanitarian commission -- not an International tribunal --
that will include Archbishop Giraldo, the Bishop Gustavo
Marin of Pamplona, as well as Americo Incaldaterra and
Javier Hernandez, both delegates in the Bogota bureau of
the UN High Commission for Human Rights.
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NEWS & VIEWS