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THE WORLD | IN BRIEF / COLOMBIA

Rebels Bombard Town, Free Dozens From Jail

July 23, 2001|From Times Wire Reports

Rebels bombarded a small town with rockets and homemade mortars, broke into the local jail and freed 73 inmates, the army and prison officials said.

Rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, began attacking Bolivar on Saturday afternoon and continued until nearly dawn Sunday, Gen. Horacio Ruiz said. A dozen houses, the police station, a bank and the mayor's office were destroyed.

Breaking into the jail, rebels freed 73 prisoners. Twelve later returned, officials said. Non-rebel inmates freed in such operations often return after a day or so. Under Colombian law, only escapees who are gone 72 hours or more are punished.

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