Colombian authorities identify bodies of dead legislators

An international group of experts in Colombia identified the bodies of nine of the 11 regional legislators killed in June while they were hostages of leftist rebels.

Colombian authorities identify bodies of dead legislators
An international group of experts in Colombia identified the bodies of nine of the 11 regional legislators killed in June while they were hostages of leftist rebels.

Relatives of the dead said Tuesday - based on the findings of forensic doctors from Canada, Spain, France and Switzerland - that they were killed with shots to the head and to the chest.

The families of the legislators have waited for days in the south- western Colombian city of Cali, in order to be able to bury their loved ones.

Earlier this month, experts of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) dug up the bodies in a mass grave in an area between the regions of Cauca and Valle del Cauca, in south-western Colombia, following a tip from the rebels themselves.

At least one of the legislators was said to have been shot in the back.

The 11 legislators were killed in disputed circumstances in June. The leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) insist they were caught in the crossfire when an unidentified armed group attempted to free them, but Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has insisted the rebels were to blame.

One lawmaker from the Valle del Cauca region who - like his dead colleagues - was kidnapped in April 2002 was unharmed in the incident because he was not in the camp at the time.

The Marxist group FARC are still holding hostage 45 politicians, soldiers and police, including former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt.

The two sides have been negotiating but unable to agree on an exchange of hostages for rebels held in prison. Conservative Uribe has refused to demilitarize several towns in south-western Colombia, which the rebels demanded for the exchange.

DPA
Last Mod: 13 Eylül 2007, 16:28
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