Dutch-born guerrilla Tanja Nijmeijer took part as a member of the FARC leftist group in a bombing that led to the death of a young child, according to interviews in a new book excerpted in the Colombian press Monday.
The book is based on interviews last August by journalist Jorge Enrique Botero with Nijmeijer, the lone known European member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
Titled “La Vida No Es Facil, Papi” (Life Is Not Easy, Dad), the book recounts her transformation from unassuming teacher of English to ruthless rebel combatant with Colombia’s most notorious Marxist insurgency.
In one of the interviews, Nijmeijer describes her shock upon learning for the first time about the income disparity between rich and poor in Colombia, and describes how that knowledge compelled her to forsake a middle-class existence in the Netherlands for the jungles of South America.
“I said to myself, the world can’t be this way — something’s got to change,” she recalls in one of the interviews, as she describes her conversion to a rebel life.
Nijmeijer expressed no remorse as she described the April 7, 2003 bombing that led to the child’s death, saying that the bombing was carried out in retribution against a Bogota merchant who refused to pay extortion money — or what she called the “revolutionary tax” — that the group had demanded.
She is believed to have joined the FARC in 2002 after moving to Colombia.
Last last year, Nijmeijer was indicted by a U.S. court on charges of conspiracy and kidnapping for her alleged role in kidnapping and detaining three Americans in brutal conditions in the Colombian jungle.
The Dutch rebel, who goes by the code-name “Alexandra,” is believed to have served as personal assistant to “Mono Jojoy,” a top FARC commander who was killed in a September government raid on his hideout.
According to Colombian authorities, Nijmeijer is the only European fighting with the Marxist FARC, Latin America’s longest-running insurgency.