Farc claims downing of unmanned spy plane


Colombian rebels brought down a small, unmanned spy plane they say was being used to track insurgent activities in the mountainous eastern part of the country, a website used by the guerrillas said today.

Photographs of the propeller-driven craft were published on www.anncol.eu, which calls itself the New Colombian News Agency and is used by the leftist rebels to publish information.

The website did not say how or when the plane was brought down.

The government of President Alvaro Uribe has received billions of dollars in US aid used to drive the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, out of the cities and away from highways, resulting in a sharp decrease in crime.

"You, dear readers, draw your own conclusions about the intensity of the Colombian conflict and all the techniques possible for gathering intelligence in the jungles and mountains," the website said. "Uribe and his gang in Bogota cannot be trusted."

Colombia is not known to have unmanned spy planes. US military aid includes assistance in intelligence gathering and operations planning.

The website suggested that the plane was being used to find out where the FARC plans to release six hostages, including two politicians and four members of the state security forces, who the rebels have promised to free in the coming weeks.

The FARC holds hundreds of hostages for ransom and as political bargaining chips in its decades-old war against the state.