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FARC guerrillas say trained by ETA members

Two former members of the Colombian FARC guerrilla army on Tuesday said they had been trained in use of explosives by members of the armed Basque separatist group ETA, according to a Spanish court.

The pair, who have not been identified, told Spanish judge Eloy Velasco via video link that the ETA members carried out the training “in the jungle” between 2002 and 2008.

They said they received training in handling of explosives and use of timing devices hidden in watches or telephones, The National Audience, Spain’s highest court, said.

Documents pointing to ETA-FARC ties were seized from leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) following a military raid last September in which the group’s leader, Jorge Briceno, was killed.

Velasco has been investigating alleged links between FARC and ETA since last March when he charged six ETA members and seven FARC fighters with involvement in a plot to kill former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe and other Colombian officials while they were visiting Spain.

He also accused the Venezuelan government of involvement the plot, allegations denied by Caracas.

ETA is blamed for 829 deaths in its 42-year campaign for independence in the Basque region of northern Spain and southwestern France.

The FARC is the oldest and largest leftist group in Colombia with an estimated 8,000 combatants.