AIVD probes FARC recruitment in Netherlands

6th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

6 September 2007, AMSTERDAM (dpa) - The Dutch government said Wednesday that it was conducting high-level talks with the Colombian government on the case of a missing Dutch woman believed to have first joined, then be held against her will, by a Colombian left-wing guerrilla group.

6 September 2007

AMSTERDAM (dpa) - The Dutch government said Wednesday that it was conducting high-level talks with the Colombian government on the case of a missing Dutch woman believed to have first joined, then be held against her will, by a Colombian left-wing guerrilla group.

The Dutch intelligence service AIVD also said it would open investigations into FARC's reported recruiting activities in the Netherlands.

Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Verhagen confirmed the talks with Colombia about the woman identified as Tanja Nijmeijer.

But he declined to disclose details, saying that might jeopardise the women's safety.

The missing woman is credited with diary entries being published in a Bogota, Colombia, newspaper, El Tiempo, that indicate she first voluntarily joined the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC,) then was held against her will when she wanted to leave.

The diary was reportedly found by the Colombian army when it raided a guerrilla camp six weeks ago, El Tiempo reported. In the diary, the woman identifies herself as "Eileen."

On Monday a Dutch foreign affairs spokesman told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa the ministry did not know about any Dutch nationals who had joined FARC.

Wednesday, Foreign Affairs officially told reporters one of its former staff members did have contact with Nijmeijers' parents.

Additional sections of the diary published Wednesday in Bogota indicated that more European nationals, including Norwegians, had voluntarily joined FARC. In the entry on November 24, 2003, "Eileen" writes about a certain "Karel". Elsewhere in the diary she mentions a "Jansie" and "Karen".

"Eileen" was identified as 29-year-old Tanja Nijmeijer, from the northern Netherlands. Her family has been looking for her for several years.

Wednesday a former staff member of the Dutch embassy in Bogota told the Foreign Ministry that Nijmeijer's relatives had visited the Dutch embassy in Bogota in 2003 in an attempt to find her.

However, he said, they ultimately refrained from requesting the Dutch authorities to launch an official search.

The former staff member added the meeting between the family and the embassy had been informal and therefore nothing was reported to Dutch foreign affairs officials.

In February 2004, Nijmeijer's parents reported their daughter missing to the Dutch Red Cross.

The Dutch intelligence service AIVD said it would investigate FARC's activities in the Netherlands.

On Wednesday, Minister of the Interior Guusje Ter Horst (Labour Party) said her impression was any involvement of Dutch nationals was limited to "isolated cases" only.

She was responding to remarks by Colombia experts speaking on Dutch television who said FARC is actively recruiting people in the Netherlands and other European countries.

Established in the 1960s as the military wing of the Colombian Communist Party, FARC is Latin America's oldest, largest, and best- equipped Marxist insurgency.

FARC has 12,000 to 18,000 members, some 30 per cent of whom are recruits under 18 years of age.

[Copyright dpa 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

 

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