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Mystery Surrounds Briton Killed in Colombia - 2001-10-30

The Colombian military has found a British passport on the body of a man killed during combat with leftist rebels over the weekend. Colombian authorities are trying to determine what he was doing there.

The army confirmed Monday that they had killed the man in the jungles of Choco, during a firefight with the National Liberation Army, or ELN, guerrilla group. The passport he carried identified him as Jeremy Parks, a 28-year-old British national. It also showed he traveled to Cuba, Peru and Ecuador, and that he entered Colombia by land six weeks ago.

Investigators have a puzzle on their hands. The document may have been stolen, so they are not sure the man who was killed is actually Mr. Parks. If he is, perhaps he was kidnapped. ELN rebels often kidnap civilians, demanding huge ransoms to help fund their insurgency. But if he was kidnapped, why was he never reported missing?

Local media have speculated he may have been fighting alongside the rebels. Investigators are trying to find whether Mr. Parks was perhaps linked to three Irish Republican Army suspects arrested in August. The three men were caught leaving a southern enclave controlled by Colombia's largest rebel army, known as the FARC. Prosecutors allege the trio had been teaching the guerrilla group how to build bombs.