7 May 2003

Secretary-General Condemns "Vicious Killings" by Colombian Rebel Group

NEW YORK, 6 May (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General strongly condemns the vicious killings on 5 May 2003 of 10 prisoners who had been kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Among those killed were two leading activists for peace, Antioquia Governor Guillermo Gaviria and former Defence Minister Gilberto Echeverri. The Secretary-General expresses his deep condolences to the families of all the victims.

These killings represent a dangerous intensification of the conflict. The kidnapping and killing of civilians and prisoners are a violation of international humanitarian law, and the FARC must be held responsible for the lives of all those whom it has kidnapped and detained.

These events should stimulate both profound reflection and immediate steps to stop the spiral of kidnappings, forced displacement, massacres and assassinations that have made civilians the primary victims of Colombia's conflict. The Secretary-General's good offices remain at the disposal of the parties in the search for a political solution.

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