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Colombia: Leftist Rebels Hiding in Venezuela


The Colombian government says it has evidence that leaders of outlawed rebel groups are hiding in neighboring Venezuela.

President Alvaro Uribe's office said Thursday it had proof that four leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and one from the National Liberation Army, or ELN, were in Venezuela.

The government said the minister of defense will present documentation to back up the claim.

Among the rebels Colombia says are hiding in Venezuela is Ivan Marquez, a member of the FARC's leadership. There was no immediate response from the Venezuelan government.

President Uribe, who has had tense relations with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, steps down next month after two terms in office. Colombia previously has accused Venezuela of financing and supporting the FARC, a charge Venezuela denies.

In 2008, Venezuela and Ecuador broke diplomatic relations with Colombia after Colombian troops raided a FARC rebel camp in Ecuador, killing FARC commander Raul Reyes and at least 20 other people.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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