Columbia's violent poll

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COLOMBIA's government deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and banned liquor sales ahead of congressional elections being held amid stepped-up rebel attacks and political kidnappings.

President Ernesto Samper called on all those eligible to cast a vote yesterday to protest at one of the most violent weeks in the country's 35-year civil war. Colombians were to choose 102 senators and 161 representatives.

The newly invigorated guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), claim to have killed 80 soldiers in a remote southern jungle in an effort to derail the elections. - AP, Bogota