The United States is condemning terrorist acts, including hostage-taking, by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. The FARC is actively involved in cocaine trafficking and has carried out thousands of kidnappings for ransom. U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey says that the United States supports the Colombian government's efforts to confront FARC terrorism and secure the release of FARC hostages:
"There's no excuse for hostage taking. We certainly want to help the government of Colombia do what it can to deal with the problems posed by FARC terrorism and are supportive of their efforts to try and release individuals in custody."
The FARC announced that eleven politicians it had kidnapped in 2002 died on June 18th when "an unidentified military group" attacked the jungle camp where they were being held. However, the FARC did not reveal the location of the camp or exactly how the deaths occurred. Colombian President Álvaro Uribe said there were no military operations on June 18th in any of the areas where the hostages were believed to have been held. He blamed FARC terrorists for the eleven lawmakers' deaths.
U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey condemned the FARC for the deaths of the eleven Colombian politicians:
"The responsibility for their death as well as the responsibility for the well-being of other hostages that the FARC maintains is with the FARC, and we call on them to release all of the hostages they have, including the three Americans who have been in detention for quite some time now."
According to the Colombian government, the FARC has kidnapped more than six-thousand-five-hundred people over the last decade and continues to hold seven-hundred-forty, including three U.S. Defense Department contractors kidnapped in 2003.