TITLE=COLOMBIA CLASHES (L-ONLY)
DATELINE=RIO DE JANEIRO
INTRO: At least nine people have been killed in
a massive attack by Colombian guerrillas in
northwestern Colombia. V-O-A correspondent Bill
Rodgers reports from our South American bureau on
the fighting and other developments in Colombia.
TEXT: Colombian authorities say three days of
fighting between government forces and rebels of
the revolutionary armed forces of Colombia, or
FARC, in the town of Narino has left numerous
casualties and a number of buildings destroyed.
Several hundred guerrillas began their attack on
Friday against a police station in Narino, a
small town in the Department of Antioquia about
150 kilometers northwest of Bogota.
During the fighting, the rebels launched missiles
fashioned from natural gas canisters, which
caused powerful explosions and reduced many
building to rubble.
The FARC has been holding preliminary peace talks
with the government since January, but has
refused to sign a cease-fire accord. The FARC,
along with another rebel group called The
National Liberation Army, or ELN, control more
than 40 percent if Colombia's territory.
Meanwhile, in a separate development, the E-L-N
has denied any responsibility in the
disappearance of a Venezuelan airliner that has
been missing since Friday. The statement by an
E-L-N commander was broadcast on local radio
Sunday. The E-L-N, which hijacked a Colombian
airliner with 41 people aboard last April, is
still holding 16 of its passengers hostage.
The Venezuelan plane, carrying 16 people on
board, disappeared Friday while flying from the
southwestern city of Barinas to the border town
of Guasdualito - about 650 kilometers southwest
of Caracas. The twin-engine plane, made by
Beechcraft, belongs to the Venezuelan Airline
Company, Avior. Venezuelan authorities speculate
the plane might have been hijacked during its 25-
minute flight - saying one of the passengers
apparently gave a false identity. (Signed)
01-Aug-1999 20:03 PM LOC (02-Aug-1999 0003 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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