Thursday, August 10, 2006

Costa Rica arrests suspected FARC member

Hector Orlando Martinez Quinto was arrested in Costa Rica. Photo provided by InterpolBy MARIANELA JIMENEZ

San Jose, Costa Rica (AP) - A man accused of participating in a 2002 rebel attack that killed more than 100 civilians in one of the worst tragedies in Colombia's four-decade-old guerrilla war was captured Thursday, local authorities said.

Hector Orlando Martinez Quinto, 38, a suspected member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, is also accused of masterminding exchanges of arms for drugs in Central America for the rebel group.

He was detained in the Pacific coast city of Cocal de Puntarenas, said Francisco Ruiz, spokesman for Costa Rica's judicial police. Costa Rican authorities said they were working on his extradition.

Interpol, which put out an order for Martinez's arrest in March at the request of Colombia's anti-terror police, said Martinez was accused of taking part in the 2002 rebel attack in the Colombian town of Bojaya.

A FARC mortar round hit a church, killing 119 civilians who were seeking shelter there. Martinez is also accused in participating in a 1999 FARC attack on police in Jurado, Colombia.

Interpol said Martinez first came to Costa Rica in 1997 by land from Panama. He later obtained legal residency after marrying a Costa Rican woman.

The FARC is Colombia's largest guerrilla insurgency, with an estimated 12,000 fighters

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