The US State Department confirmed launching of a 150 men operation to release three officers taken hostage by FARC rebels.
Only a few hours after the largest Colombian Marxist rebel group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, admitted their responsibility for the kidnapping of three CIA agents, the US President George W. Bush ordered Special Forces to rescue them. US State Department spokeswoman Amanda Batt has officially made the announcement on Saturday and urged Colombian rebels to immediately free hostages.
FARC forces captured the three CIA agents when the plane they were using for secret operations made an emergency landing in a jungle area under control of the FARC guerrillas. Since February 13, day of the accident, the Colombian Army has sent over 4.000 officers to search for the hostages, without positive results.
Last Saturday, FARC forces acknowledge the kidnappings through a statement posted on their web site. Amanda Batt replied that the US Government would use all its available resources to find its personnel.
Bush made use of his entitlement to enlarge the number of forces in Colombia without previous authorization by the Congress. The US Congress had limited the number of US Army officers in Colombia to 400 through a rule passed in 2001. As per a Washington Post report, with the emergency increasing announced, the total number of US officers in Colombia will go up to 411.
This incident is the most serious conflict between USA and Colombian rebel forces since the beginning of the conflict 38 years ago. The Pentagon, currently support the Colombian Government to fight marxist guerrillas and the US National Treasury has wired about $ 2 billion to Bogota since 2001 to back anti-guerrilla actions.
The US State Department also confirmed that it is studying retaliations against the FARC, but did not announce any specific measure. As per Amanda Batt's statement they will make know them only after the three agents are safely released.
In turn, President George W. Bush Thursday condemned the attack and warned that the FARC will be treated as merciless criminals. Also, Republican Legislator Tom Davis said that FARC act was a "serious mistake" and warned on strong retaliations against the rebels.
Hernan Etchaleco PRAVDA.Ru Argentina
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