Dutch woman possibly held by Colombian rebels

4th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

4 September 2007, AMSTERDAM (dpa) - A young Dutch woman is possibly being held by Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas in Colombia against her will, unconfirmed reports said Monday.

4 September 2007


AMSTERDAM (dpa) - A young Dutch woman is possibly being held by Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas in Colombia against her will, unconfirmed reports said Monday.

Diplomats of the Dutch Embassy in Colombia said they were "surprised" to read the reports in the local press and were not aware a Dutch citizen being held hostage by FARC.

They added the woman's life is in serious danger now that the Colombian press published the woman's picture and sections of her diary in which she criticizes FARC.

Robert Dekker, spokesman for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs was unable Monday morning to confirm reports the young woman was being held hostage, as indicated by her diary.

Sections of her diary were published by Colombian daily El Tiempo on Sunday.

"We do not know whether she is with FARC of her own free will or whether she is held hostage. This is what we are currently investigating," Dekker said.

"We want to know if her family ever contacted the Dutch authorities concerning the young woman's possible forced stay with FARC," Dekker added.

The Colombian Army told El Tiempo several young women were bathing when it attacked a FARC hideout six weeks ago. According to military reports, everyone in the camp fled when the attack began, including the women.

The army later found the diary written by someone who identified herself as "Ellen" on the camp's premises.

Ellen's diary indicates the young woman is working as a translator for the Eastern division of the guerrilla organisation.

She initially joined FARC of her own free will in 2002 when travelling to Colombia for a second time in two years. She says she was fascinated with Colombian Marxism.

The writings in her diary, however, suggest that after her fascination with FARC subsided, she was unable to leave the group. The guerillas have also prohibited her from making contact with her family in the Netherlands.

On August 26, 2006 she managed to call her family. "I called home," she writes in her diary. "Mom cried and so did Dad. Now I need to wait for my punishment, because everyone is allowed to call, except me."

Several entries in her diary speak of her dreams of escaping the organisation and returning to the Netherlands.

Elsewhere, the diary reads: "I am tired, tired of FARC, tired of these people, tired of communal life and of not having anything for myself. If only we knew what we were fighting for, then it would at least be worthwhile."

"I do not believe in it (FARC) any more. What kind of organisation is this? Some have money, cigarettes and sweets. The rest has to beg for everything only to be rejected by those who do have everything."

"This has been the case ever since I came here four years ago. Nothing has changed."

The first time Ellen travelled to Colombia in 2000, FARC was negotiating an agreement with the government. The negotiations failed.

According to El Tiempo, Ellen is not the only European to work for FARC. The newspaper says Europeans often serve as intermediaries between the guerrillas, the Colombian government and non-governmental organisations.

Foreigners are often targets of kidnapping for ransom by FARC.

Established in the 1960s as the military wing of the Colombian Communist Party, FARC is Latin America's oldest, largest, most capable, and best-equipped Marxist insurgency, led by longtime leader Manuel Marulanda and senior military commander Jorge Briceno.

It is known for bombings, murder, mortar attacks, drug- trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, hijacking, as well as guerrilla and conventional military action against Colombian political, military, and economic targets.

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

It operates mostly in key urban areas, such as Bogota. In 2003, FARC conducted several high-profile terrorist attacks, including a February car-bombing of a Bogota nightclub that killed more than 30 people and wounded more than 160.


[Copyright dpa 2007]

[Subject: Dutch news]

 


4 September 2007


AMSTERDAM (dpa) - A young Dutch woman is possibly being held by Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas in Colombia against her will, unconfirmed reports said Monday.

Diplomats of the Dutch Embassy in Colombia said they were "surprised" to read the reports in the local press and were not aware a Dutch citizen being held hostage by FARC.

They added the woman's life is in serious danger now that the Colombian press published the woman's picture and sections of her diary in which she criticizes FARC.

Robert Dekker, spokesman for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs was unable Monday morning to confirm reports the young woman was being held hostage, as indicated by her diary.

Sections of her diary were published by Colombian daily El Tiempo on Sunday.

"We do not know whether she is with FARC of her own free will or whether she is held hostage. This is what we are currently investigating," Dekker said.

"We want to know if her family ever contacted the Dutch authorities concerning the young woman's possible forced stay with FARC," Dekker added.

The Colombian Army told El Tiempo several young women were bathing when it attacked a FARC hideout six weeks ago. According to military reports, everyone in the camp fled when the attack began, including the women.

The army later found the diary written by someone who identified herself as "Ellen" on the camp's premises.

Ellen's diary indicates the young woman is working as a translator for the Eastern division of the guerrilla organisation.

She initially joined FARC of her own free will in 2002 when travelling to Colombia for a second time in two years. She says she was fascinated with Colombian Marxism.

The writings in her diary, however, suggest that after her fascination with FARC subsided, she was unable to leave the group. The guerillas have also prohibited her from making contact with her family in the Netherlands.

On August 26, 2006 she managed to call her family. "I called home," she writes in her diary. "Mom cried and so did Dad. Now I need to wait for my punishment, because everyone is allowed to call, except me."

Several entries in her diary speak of her dreams of escaping the organisation and returning to the Netherlands.

Elsewhere, the diary reads: "I am tired, tired of FARC, tired of these people, tired of communal life and of not having anything for myself. If only we knew what we were fighting for, then it would at least be worthwhile."

"I do not believe in it (FARC) any more. What kind of organisation is this? Some have money, cigarettes and sweets. The rest has to beg for everything only to be rejected by those who do have everything."

"This has been the case ever since I came here four years ago. Nothing has changed."

The first time Ellen travelled to Colombia in 2000, FARC was negotiating an agreement with the government. The negotiations failed.

According to El Tiempo, Ellen is not the only European to work for FARC. The newspaper says Europeans often serve as intermediaries between the guerrillas, the Colombian government and non-governmental organisations.

Foreigners are often targets of kidnapping for ransom by FARC.

Established in the 1960s as the military wing of the Colombian Communist Party, FARC is Latin America's oldest, largest, most capable, and best-equipped Marxist insurgency, led by longtime leader Manuel Marulanda and senior military commander Jorge Briceno.

It is known for bombings, murder, mortar attacks, drug- trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, hijacking, as well as guerrilla and conventional military action against Colombian political, military, and economic targets.

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

It operates mostly in key urban areas, such as Bogota. In 2003, FARC conducted several high-profile terrorist attacks, including a February car-bombing of a Bogota nightclub that killed more than 30 people and wounded more than 160.


[Copyright dpa 2007]

[Subject: Dutch news]

 

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