U.S. Offers $300,000 Reward and Visa for U.S. Persons Kidnaped in Colombia

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Sunday, June 1, 2003
Bruce Zagaris
On March 18, 2003, the U.S. Department of Defense announced it is offering a reward of $338,000 and a U.S. visa for information leading to the rescue of three U.S. Government contractors the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a Marxist rebel army, kidnaped on February 13, 2003 from a plane wreck in Colombia’s southern jungles. The U.S. prominently announced the reward in the Colombian news media. The U.S. broadcast radio spots and placed full-page advertisements in the newspapers, offering “I billion pesos ($338,000) plus a visa to the United States” for “information that allows us to rescue the North American crew.” The U.S. spread the same information on 500,000 leaflets that have been dropped near the crash site as well as areas where the three U.S. nationals are believed held. The FARC rebels claim they shot down the aircraft. U.S. officials said it was not shot down, but had mechanical problems. The rebel have declared the three U.S. nationals prisoners of war. They have most likely been taken to remote parts of the jungle where access would be very difficult. The rebels have promised to hold their three hostages until the Colombian Government agrees to free jailed rebels.