Colombian Dash 8 hijack ends with kidnapping

 - March 25, 2008, 6:20 AM

Marxist rebels on February 20 abducted a Colombian senator after hijacking an Aires Colombia de Havilland Dash 8 flying a domestic service from the southern city of Neiva to Bogota. The heavily armed rebels, believed to belong to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), forced the twin turboprop to land on a road near the town of Hobo, 27 mi south of Neiva, where at least 50 guerrillas waited to seize Senator Jorge Gechen and another unidentified passenger. Thirty passengers and crew were left stranded. The hijacking occurred one day after Colombian president Andres Pastrana demanded an end to guerrilla kidnappings as part of a cease-fire agreement between the Marxist rebels and the U.S.-backed right-wing government.