Dutch MEP asked to press FARC fighter Nijmeijer to desert
Dutch MEP Hans van Baalen has been asked to help in securing the desertion of the Dutch guerilla Tanja Nijmeijer from the Colombian FARC rebel movement. The request came from Colombian Vice-President Angelino Garzon, Mr Van Baalen said.
The FARC apparently intends to use Ms Nijmeijer to raise its international standing. The plans emerge from an e-mail found on a laptop at a bombed FARC encampment. According to the mail, a FARC commander believed “she will be able to make an important contribution to the FARC, given her abilities and professional education in languages and also her training here with us and her well-known sacrifices..."
Mr Van Baalen says he informed Mr Garzon that the Netherlands wasn’t able to have Ms Nijmeijer desert from the rebel group. However, the euro-MP for the conservative VVD party has promised to raise the issue with the new Dutch government, a VVD-Christian Democrat coalition supported by the far right Freedom Party. Mr Garzon has said the Ms Nijmeijer will be “treated sympathetically” if she deserts, and will not face prosecution.
The 32-year-old Dutch woman has been fighting with the leftwing Colombian guerilla movement since 2002. She was recently rumored to have been killed in the bombing of a FARC base in Colombia. However, DNA evidence showed she was not among the dead.
Last weekend new photos of Ms Nijmeijer emerged, but they are thought to date from before the bombing. According to specialists there is reason to believe she is still alive.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide