Colombian Catholic Church Offers To Act As Mediator With Guerrillas

For Release of Governor of Antioquia and Local Peace Adviser

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BOGOTA, MAY 19, 2002 ( Colombian Catholic Church offered to act as mediator with the guerrillas currently holding the Governor of Antioquia, Guillermo Gaviria and local peace adviser, Gilberto Echeverri Mejía

In fact, the chairman of the Colombian Bishops Conference, Archbishop Alberto Giraldo Jaramillo of Medellín, responded to the request forwarded by the hostages´ family members and will personally participate in the negotiations, together with the Labor Minister, Angelino Garzon, Misna ( missionary agency reported on Saturday

Eugenio Prieto, the interim Governor of Antioquia, also said that soon the Archbishop will go to the location where Gaviria and Echeverri are held hostage to verify their health condition.

Both were abducted by the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), on April 21 while heading a «Peace March,» which left from Medellín for the rural area of Caicedo. Over the past days thousand of Colombians took to the streets of Medellín to call for the release of the two leading figures.

Gaviria´s wife Yolanda Pinto lit a candle on the terrace of the Governor´s residence, stating that she would extinguish it only when her husband comes home.

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