Rebels burn copies of newspaper

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New York, July 11, 2000 — On June 20, guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the armed movement known by its Colombian acronym FARC, confiscated and burned copies of the Bogotá-based daily El Tiempo.

According to an El Tiempo report confirmed by CPJ’s sources in Colombia, at around 4 a.m. more than 50 guerrillas from FARC’s Front 19 stopped an El Tiempo delivery truck between the towns of Caracolicito and Alto del Bálsamo, near the border dividing the northern provinces of Magdalena and Cesar. The truck, the property of the delivery company Colmensajer’a, was traveling from the northern city of Barranquilla when the FARC guerrillas temporarily detained its occupants, then searched the vehicle and unloaded its contents. Approximately 3,000 copies of El Tiempo were burned on the roadside.

Both the FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN), the other major guerrilla movement, have shown disregard for the Colombian press in the past and have targeted El Tiempo‘s delivery networks. On April 4, FARC guerrillas stole around 3,000 El Tiempo copies in the town of Aracataca in the province of Magdalena. That same day, at around 4 p.m., the ELN stole several thousand replacement copies of El Tiempo near the town of Camperucho in the province of Cesar.