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National Briefing / New York

Colombian rebels face charges

September 29, 2009|Times Wire Reports

A dozen members of a Colombian group called the 57th Front have been charged with conspiring to aid a foreign terrorist group and taking a U.S. citizen hostage last year in Panama, authorities announced. Prosecutors said only two of the defendants are in custody. The rest are fugitives.

An indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan accused six defendants of aiding Colombia's rebel army, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which the U.S. government considers a terrorist group.

The indictment says FARC's leadership has ordered members to kidnap and kill Americans and attack U.S. interests to dissuade American authorities from helping Colombia disrupt cocaine manufacturing and distribution.

The kidnapped U.S. citizen was freed in February after his family paid a ransom, a separate indictment says.

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