Spanish prosecutors sought Friday the arrest of five suspected ETA
members accused of conspiring with Colombia’s FARC rebels to
assassinate high-profile Colombian targets in Europe.
The five men were wanted for “belonging to a terrorist group,
collaboration with an armed group and conspiring with a view to
committing terrorist murders,” prosecutors said.
was to perpetrate attacks in Spain and elsewhere in Europe against
high-profile Colombian figures targeted by FARC, a Marxist rebel group
seeking the overthrow of the Colombian government.
included former Colombian president Andres Pastrana, Noemi Sanin —
Bogota‘s ambassador to Madrid between 2002 and 2008 — current
Vice-President Francisco Santos, and former Bogota mayor Antans Mockus.
suspected ETA members wanted were named as Martin Capa, Inaki
Dominguez, Jose Ignacio Echarte, Jose Angel Urtiaga and Arturo Cubillas.
The case, based on documents seized in 1999, will be examined in coming weeks by Spanish judge Eloy Velasco.
Spanish justice official said the two groups had collaborated on “the
setting-up in Colombia between July and mid-August 2003 of training in
explosives handling” in which at least four Basque separatists
The information partially confirms a report
broadcast on Thursday by Spain’s Cadena Ser radio which said an ETA
document, seized in France, had provided details of contacts and
exchanges between ETA and FARC.
The radio report said the two organizations “had at least three operational meetings in Colombia” in 2003.
identified as a terrorist movement by the European Union and United
States, has conducted a 40-year campaign for independence for the
Basque country in northern Spain and southwest France.
the first time that an ETA document had mentioned such exchanges,
though FARC documents previously cited by Spanish television have
spoken of contacts with ETA.
The reports said the contacts did
not go beyond simple discussions and there was no sign of any
“operational” cooperation between the two organizations.
President Alvaro Uribe in June condemned the alleged links between the
two groups, referring to a Spanish television program which reported
on material found on the computer of FARC’s former deputy leader Paul
Reyes, killed by the Colombian military in March.
documentary, a former guerrilla identified as Carlos claimed ETA members
had been trained in Colombia and ETA had taught FARC how to use
In the Reyes computer material, it was
alleged, FARC had asked ETA to carry out attacks and kidnappings on its
behalf, in particular against Sanin and Santos.
But no act of violence claimed by FARC has taken place in Europe.
ETA is held responsible for the deaths of 824 people in its four-decade long campaign.
are estimated to be about 9,000 active FARC guerrillas, chiefly in the
south and east of the country, who are holding between 350 and 700
Of these 28 are described as “political” and FARC wants to trade them for 500 of its own men captured by government forces.
FARC’s best-known hostage Ingrid Betancourt, a former Colombian presidential candidate, was held for more than six years.
was rescued in a dramatic military ruse on July 2 that freed 14 other
hostages — with rebels being tricked into believing the group were to
be transferred to another detention centre on the orders of superiors. (AFP)