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DATE=8/1/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=COLOMBIA CLASHES (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-252385 BYLINE=BILL RODGERS DATELINE=RIO DE JANEIRO INTERNET=YES CONTENT= VOICED AT: 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) NEB/BR/ENE-T/PT 01-Aug-1999 20:03 PM LOC (02-Aug-1999 0003 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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