Kidnapping threatens Colombian peace talks

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The Independent US

Suspected right-wing paramilitary kidnappers freed the family of a former Colombian senator and four others yesterday, the army said. But their refusal to release the former senator cast a shadow over forthcoming peace talks.

Suspected right-wing paramilitary kidnappers freed the family of a former Colombian senator and four others yesterday, the army said. But their refusal to release the former senator cast a shadow over forthcoming peace talks.

Masked gunmen abducted Jose Eduardo Gnecco, his wife, their three children, a niece, two of the children's friends and their driver as they drove along a highway near the coast on Sunday.

The hostages were freed, under pressure from Colombian troops, at an undisclosed location about 35 miles from the coastal city of Santa Marta. The niece and one of the children's friends were slightly injured by flying metal fragments when the gunmen opened fire at the time of the kidnapping. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, nor was there any clear motive.

President Alvaro Uribe's office, however, blamed the kidnapping on two paramilitary warlords and banned them from the peace talks.

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