Dutch FARC member probably still alive

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Information from FARC deserters and Colombian intelligence services has led Hands for Peace to conclude that Tanja Nijmeijer is still alive.

22 October 2008

THE NETHERLANDS - The international head of the Hands for Peace organisation, Lidwien Zumpolle, claims Tanja Nijmeijer, the Dutch woman who joined the Colombian FARC rebel movement in 2005, is probably still alive.

In an interview with Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Zumpolle says she bases her opinion on information she has received from other FARC deserters and the Colombian intelligence services.

She thinks Nijmeijer is probably undergoing harsh work punishments and psychological isolation for criticising the FARC in her diary. The diary was discovered in 2007 in a raid on a FARC camp by the Colombian army. Since then, nothing has been heard of her.

Nijmeijer, who is in her twenties, went to Colombia after finishing her studies in the Netherlands. However, it is not known whether she joined the rebels voluntarily.

In an extract of Nijmeijer’s diary found in the camp, she wrote: "What sort of organisation is this where some have cash, cigarettes and sweets and the rest have to go begging and get shouted at [...] where we work the whole day, while the commanders stand around gossiping?"

Zumpolle also believes that a Dutch musician who refuses to engage in armed hostilities is being held with Nijmeijer, together with at least two Norwegians.

Hands for Peace (Manos por la Paz) is a movement dedicated to peace in Colombia. It was founded by disaffected members of the FARC.

[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]

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