Colombia: June 12, 2000


Police announced that about 1,483 people were kidnapped during the first five months of this year.  Some 1,016 people were kidnapped for  ransom, 68 for politican reasons, 56 were police officers, 71 were described as "straightforward kidnappings", and for 340, no official cause could be determined.. The left wing groups FARC committed 371 of the kidnappings,  ELN 301 and the right wing AUC was responsible for 111. The remainder were carried out by common criminals.  As far  as is known, 93 of the victims died in captivity Another 526 individuals were freed by their captors. The police  rescued 217 victims while 22 people escaped. It is estimated that some  300 victims were freed after ransom payments of some 12 million dollars were paid. Meanwhile, the FARC has asked to open talks with the United States.


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