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Colombia rebels troubled by peace talks spy report

February 5, 2014

HAVANA (AP) — A high-ranking member of Colombia’s largest guerrilla army said Wednesday it is very concerned over a report that an elite unit of the South American nation’s military allegedly spied on the electronic communications of negotiators at peace talks in Havana.

Ivan Marquez, the nom de guerre of a rebel with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said the guerrillas believe that if the military spied on government negotiators, surely it snooped on their communications as well.

“Not only is the peace delegation of the government being spied on from Colombia, but especially the peace delegation of the FARC,” said Marquez, whose legal name is Luciano Marin Arango, at a news conference in the Cuban capital.

“What is happening is truly grave,” he said, and called on President Juan Manuel Santos’ government to provide an explanation.

The allegations surfaced Monday in an article by the Colombian newsmagazine Semana, which reported that for more than a year, cyber-spies and civilian hackers they recruited monitored emails and text messages from Santos’ representatives at the talks.

The following day, Santos denied that his administration was involved. He also ordered an investigation into whether “rogue elements in the military” were allied with “dark forces” trying to sabotage the peace talks.

“The government will have to answer to the country and act in such a way as to leave no doubt about the origen and intent of this kind of activity, which would appear to be an attack on ... peace for Colombia,” Marquez said Wednesday.

Officials have not said who may have been responsible for the alleged electronic monitoring, though two army generals have been suspended.

Colombian government and rebel delegates have been negotiating in the Cuban capital since late 2012.

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Andrea Rodriguez on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ARodriguezAP

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