Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Missionaries: Longest Hostage Time

Written by Rev. H.A. Bergsma
Three American missionaries have now spent four and-a-half years as hostages in Columbia. The three, Charles Mankins, Mark Rich and Richard Tennenhoff, have spent more time in captivity than any other international hostages in the Western hemisphere. The three men worked for New Tribes Mission, based in Florida. After their kidnapping in 1993, the guerrilla movement that took them demanded a $5 million ransom. For one year the guerrillas negotiated, but New Tribes Mission said they would not pay a ransom. The guerrillas refused other alternatives. The United States ambassador to Columbia has spoken many times to the Colombian government, and New Tribes Mission has approached the government of Costa Rica as a go-between. The US and Columbia want to avoid an armed conflict, such as the one in which two other missionary hostages were killed two years ago. The hostage incident has received very little publicity. In the initial stages, according to Guy Sier, International Contingency Coordinator for New Tribes Mission, the agency did not want publicity. Now the agency believes more press coverage would be helpful, Sier said. (From Christian Renewal)
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