Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Families of US Hostages in Colombia Try Again Last Week, They Urged Latin American Leaders to Pressure Rebels to Free Three Relatives, Who Are Thought to Still Be Alive

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Families of US Hostages in Colombia Try Again Last Week, They Urged Latin American Leaders to Pressure Rebels to Free Three Relatives, Who Are Thought to Still Be Alive

Article excerpt

Three American citizens are being held by leftist guerrillas somewhere in the jungles of Colombia. But this isn't a news flash. The men were kidnapped nearly five years ago as they worked as missionaries in a remote village of southern Panama. Frustrated but still hopeful, their families arrived at Margarita Island, Venezuela, last week for the Ibero-American heads of state summit, with the goal of winning some attention for their case.

"I keep thinking those guerrillas have to have families, have to care about somebody. It's so hard to understand why they keep dragging this out," says Tania Rich, the wife of one of the men.

Mark Rich, Dave Mankins, and Rick Tenenoff and their families had been working for the New Tribes Mission in the remote village of Pucuro, just a few hours north through the jungle from the Colombia-Panama border. The missionaries knew that guerrillas and drug traffickers often crossed the border in the jungle, but they never had any reason to believe they would be caught up in Colombia's violent problems. If, as is believed, they are still alive, the men are the longest currently held American hostages in the world today. It was early evening on Jan. 31, 1993, when guerrillas raided the village and marched the men into the night as their wives looked on. In the first year, the mission was talking with the guerrillas, but in January 1994 contact broke off. The following four years yielded very little information. But recently, the families have received encouraging news that the men may still be alive and held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). "A high-level FARC official admitted recently to a high-level Costa Rican official that they have our men, and they're OK," says Mrs. Rich. But she and the other family members are wary of becoming too hopeful. "I'd like to have more than the word of this person - and more than that, have them come back," she says. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.