Experts to Help Find
Missing Americans in Columbia
By Jim Garamone,
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
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