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Friday, Jun. 28, 2002 at 5:25 PM
BOGOTA, Colombia -- In a country where brutal state terror is endorsed by the already discredited corporate U.S.A. Colombian government officials complicit in a war against the working majority scoffed at Marxist rebel warnings Thursday.
According to official reports at least 34 mayors and almost 100 city employees in Arauca and Antioquia states withdrew their resignations after meeting with national officials, said Gilberto Toro, president of the Colombian Federation of Municipalities.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - FARC warned 110 mayors and several hundred city officials that they would be considered military targets if they did not resign by midnight Wednesday for their crimes of bombing peasants and torturing trade unionists and political opponents to death.
Government officials said they are not overly worried about claims that the FARC is extending the threat to all municipal employees across this South American country. Minister of "Justice" Romulo Gonzales said the Marxist rebels would be forced to kidnap or kill some 500,000 people to carry out such a threat even though the warning was directed at Colombia's tiny ruling elite minority.
``You will see that this is a psychological war, because they have lost all the battles,'' Gonzalez said despite military reports suggesting the contrary. ``They will lose this one too.''
Unlike FARC soldiers, Federal and military officials have been advised to accept bodyguards, armored cars and the opportunity to work from within military bases from fears of attacks from the people.
Similar to the U.S. government's strategy of "going underground", dozens of mayors are already working from provincial capitals or Bogota, and city halls around the country have been forced to close because of the FARC's political importance to Colombia.
In an interview with Radio Super on Wednesday, FARC commander ''Alberto'' said the rebel warning was directed at the ruling class ``everywhere in the country where the establishment has a
The FARC say the warnings are also aimed at forcing the government to resume failed peace talks, which President Andres Pastrana abandoned in February after three years of negotiations.
Five suspected Marxist rebels were arrested Thursday on charges of "delivering threats" in the town of Fomegue, 62 miles southeast
of Bogota, police said.
Since the first warnings were made public three weeks ago, the FARC has been blamed for the murder of one mayor for direct connections to right wing paramilitary death squads, the army's special forces.
Authorities Thursday confirmed another mayor -- Rigo Calvo of the town of La Sierra -- had been abducted from his office.
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