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Chileans Given Food as Colonel's Ransom

November 27, 1987|Associated Press

SANTIAGO, Chile — A Roman Catholic priest handed out $75,000 worth of food, clothing, toys and building materials to poor people Thursday as ransom for an army colonel abducted by leftist guerrillas three months ago.

Leftist extremists who kidnaped Col. Carlos Carreno on Sept. 1 described the distribution as "very satisfactory" and said they will free their captive within 10 days.

Father Alfredo Soiza-Pineyro, who acted as mediator between the kidnapers and Carreno's family and supervised the distribution, said the ransom agreement had called for Carreno's release within 24 hours.

But in a typewritten statement delivered to foreign news agencies Thursday night, the pro-Communist Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front said it needed the 10-day period to ensure Carreno's safe release. It complained of "the enormous deployment of military and security forces that we have seen in recent hours."

Hundreds of slum dwellers at designated drop-off points waited for hours, then lined up to accept the goods as they were handed off flatbed trucks.

Soiza-Pineyro said money to buy the goods came from public donations. Carreno's family sold their house to help the fund.

Delivery of the goods to the slums complied with the second of the captors' two demands, the priest said. He met the other condition Wednesday by delivering to reporters a long anti-government manifesto issued by the kidnapers.

Most of the distribution was orderly, but in La Victoria, a sprawling slum known for militant opposition to the 14-year-old military regime, a truck was looted before the goods could be delivered.

President Augusto Pinochet's government refused to negotiate with the kidnapers, characterizing them as terrorists, but it did not interfere with attempts by family members and church officials to arrange Carreno's release.

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