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Homeland Security

American Forces Press Service

U.S. Aiding in Search for Three Missing Americans

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2003 -- U.S. experts are helping the Colombian armed forces search for three Americans captured by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, embassy officials said today.

A single-engine U.S. government Cessna 208 crashed Feb. 13. When Colombian forces reached the crash site, they found the bodies of two crewmembers, one Colombian and one American. The embassy is not releasing the name of the American at his family's request.

Three other Americans are being held by the terrorist guerrillas, known by their Spanish acronym, FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia). The three are civilian contractors to the U.S. government, embassy officials said. The American embassy is not releasing the names of the individuals out of concern for their safety, said embassy spokesman Gerald McLoughlin.

McLoughlin would not detail the assistance U.S. personnel are providing the Colombians.

News reports indicate that the plane crashed in an area long considered a FARC stronghold. The U.S. State Department has listed the FARC as a terrorist organization. The FARC depends on kidnap for ransom and the illicit drug trade to finance its operations.


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