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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2001 > June
Press Statement
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
June 25, 2001


Arrest of Kidnappers in Colombia

The United States Government is pleased that Colombian authorities have begun arresting individuals allegedly involved in at least two major kidnappings of U.S. and other foreign workers in northern Ecuador. We are particularly gratified that several of the ringleaders are among the more than fifty people taken into custody.

The arrested individuals were allegedly involved in the October 12, 2000, kidnapping of U.S., New Zealand, Argentine and Chilean oil workers at oil drilling sites in northern Ecuador. One of the five U.S. citizen hostages, Ronald Clay Sander, was murdered in late January, 2001, by the kidnappers after ransom negotiations with their employer failed.

Some of the arrested individuals were also involved in a September, 1999 kidnapping of seven Canadian and one U.S. citizen oil workers in Sucumbios province, in northern Ecuador. In the course of the hostage taking, the kidnappers killed one Ecuadorian soldier. The kidnappers only released the hostages that December after a ransom payment by their employer.

We commend the Colombian law enforcement authorities for their successful and highly professional investigation that led to the arrest of these alleged kidnappers and murderers. The United States was pleased to be able to provide substantive cooperation to Colombian and Ecuadorian authorities in this law enforcement effort and will cooperate in any way possible to bring to justice the persons involved in these brutal crimes.


Released on June 25, 2001

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