By: MARK FITZGERALD
Colombia halts talks to free reporter, other hostages
When Colombia’s second-largest guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army, kidnapped more than 150 people as they were leaving Sunday Mass May 30 at a church in an upscale Cali neighborhood, one of the people swept up in the audacious raid was Camilo Valencia Trujillo, a correspondent for the Spanish newspaper, ABC, in Madrid.
Since then, the guerrillas have freed all but 34 of the captives, with Valencia still among the hostages. Free press groups, such as the Journalists Protection Committee of Colombia, are urging the government to do more to free Valencia and the other captives. On June 23, however, the government’s national ombudsman, Jose Fernando Castro, said he would no longer negotiate for the release of the hostages because the guerrillas’ demand for ransom lent “an aspect of extortion” to the situation.
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